Micro-CT studies on 3-D bioactive glass–ceramic scaffolds for bone regeneration
The aim of this study was the preparation and characterization of bioactive glass–ceramic scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. For this purpose, a glass belonging to the system SiO2–P2O5–CaO–MgO–Na2O–K2O (CEL2) was used. The sponge-replication method was adopted to prepare the scaffolds; specifically, a polymeric skeleton was impregnated with a slurry containing CEL2 powder, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) as a binding agent and distilled water. The impregnated sponge was then thermally treated to remove the polymeric phase and to sinter the inorganic one. The obtained scaffolds possessed an open and interconnected porosity, analogous to cancellous bone texture, and with a mechanical strength above 2 MPa. Moreover, the scaffolds underwent partial bioresorption due to ion-leaching phenomena. This feature was investigated by X-ray computed microcomputed tomography (micro-CT). Micro-CT is a three-dimensional (3-D) radiographic imaging technique, able to achieve a spatial resolution close to 1 μm3. The use of synchrotron radiation allows the selected photon energy to be tuned to optimize the contrast among the different phases in the investigated samples. The 3-D scaffolds were soaked in a simulated body fluid (SBF) to study the formation of hydroxyapatite microcrystals on the scaffold struts and on the internal pore walls. The 3-D scaffolds were also soaked in a buffer solution (Tris–HCl) for different times to assess the scaffold bioresorption according to the ISO standard. A gradual resorption of the pores walls was observed during the soakings both in SBF and in Tris–HCl.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 5, Issue 4, May 2009, Pages 1328–1337