Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 2573–2578 | Cite as

A comparative study of oxygen diffusion in tissue engineering scaffolds

  • T. FiedlerEmail author
  • I. V. Belova
  • G. E. Murch
  • G. Poologasundarampillai
  • J. R. Jones
  • J. A. Roether
  • A. R. Boccaccini


Tissue engineering scaffolds are designed to support tissue self-healing within physiological environments by promoting the attachment, growth and differentiation of relevant cells. Newly formed tissue must be supplied with sufficient levels of oxygen to prevent necrosis. Oxygen diffusion is the major transport mechanism before vascularization is completed and oxygen is predominantly supplied via blood vessels. The present study compares different designs for scaffolds in the context of their oxygen diffusion ability. In all cases, oxygen diffusion is confined to the scaffold pores that are assumed to be completely occupied by newly formed tissue. The solid phase of the scaffolds acts as diffusion barrier that locally inhibits oxygen diffusion, i.e. no oxygen passes through the scaffold material. As a result, the oxygen diffusivity is determined by the scaffold porosity and pore architecture. Lattice Monte Carlo simulations are performed to compare the normalized oxygen diffusivities in scaffolds obtained by the foam replication (FR) method, robocasting and sol–gel foaming. Scaffolds made by the FR method were found to have the highest oxygen diffusivity due to their high porosity and interconnected pores. These structures enable the best oxygen supply for newly formed tissue among the scaffold types considered according to the present numerical predictions.


Oxygen Diffusion Bioactive Glass Tissue Engineering Scaffold Strut Thickness Tissue Phase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors Dr Fiedler, Prof. Murch and Prof. Boccaccini want to acknowledge financial support by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in the framework of the Discovery Project DP130101377.


  1. 1.
    Hench LL, Polak JM. Third-generation biomedical materials. Science. 2002;295:1014–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hutmacher DW, Schantz JT, Lam CXF, Tan KC, Lim TC. State of the art and future directions of scaffold-based bone engineering from a biomaterials perspective. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2007;1:245–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ratner BD, Hoffman AS, Schoen FJ, Lemons JE. Biomaterials science: an introduction to materials in medicine. Amsterdam: Academic Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rezwan K, Chen QZ, Blaker JJ, Boccaccini AR. Biodegradable and bioactive porous polymer/inorganic composite scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2006;27:3413–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Karande TS. Effect of scaffold architecture on diffusion of oxygen in tissue engineering constructs. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Texas at Austin; 2007.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Karande TS, Ong JL, Agrawal CM. Diffusion in musculoskeletal tissue engineering scaffolds: design issues related to porosity, permeability, architecture, and nutrient mixing. Ann Biomed Eng. 2004;32:1728–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kang TY, Kang HW, Hwang CM, Leel SJ, Park J, Yoo JJ, et al. The realistic prediction of oxygen transport in a tissue-engineered scaffold by introducing time-varying effective diffusion coefficients. Acta Biomater. 2011;7:3345–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Croll TI, Gentz S, Mueller K, Davidson M, O’Connor AJ, Stevens GW, et al. Modelling oxygen diffusion and cell growth in a porous, vascularizing scaffold for soft tissue engineering applications. Chem Eng Sci. 2005;60:4924–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Santos MI, Reis RL. Vascularization in bone tissue engineering: physiology, current strategies, major hurdles and future challenges. Macromol Biosci. 2010;10:12–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gorustovich AA, Roether JA, Boccaccini AR. Effect of bioactive glasses on angiogenesis: in-vitro and in-vivo evidence. A review. Tissue Eng Part B. 2010;16:199–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chung CA, Yang CW, Chen CW. Analysis of cell growth and diffusion in a scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2006;94:1138–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Shanbhag S, Lee JW, Kotov N. Diffusion in three-dimensionally ordered scaffolds with inverted colloidal crystal geometry. Biomaterials. 2005;26:5581–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fiedler T, Murch GE, Belova IV. Solving complex thermal and mass transport problems with the Lattice Monte Carlo method. Cairns, QLD; 2010. p. 1476–81.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Veyhl C, Fiedler T, Andersen O, Meinert J, Bernthaler T, Belova IV, et al. On the thermal conductivity of sintered metallic fibre structures. Int J Heat Mass Transf. 2012;55:2440–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fiedler T, Belova IV, Murch GE. Theoretical and Lattice Monte Carlo analyses on thermal conduction in cellular metals. Comput Mater Sci. 2010;50:503–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Eqtesadi S, Motealleh A, Miranda P, Pajares A, Lemos A, Ferreira JMF. Robocasting of 45S5 bioactive glass scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. J Eur Ceram Soc. 2014;34:107–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Midha S, Kim TB, van den Bergh W, Lee PD, Jones JR, Mitchell CA. Preconditioned 70S30C bioactive glass foams promote osteogenesis in vivo. Acta Biomater. 2013;9:9169–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jones JR. Review of bioactive glass: from Hench to hybrids. Acta Biomater. 2013;9:4457–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Novak S, Druce J, Chen QZ, Boccaccini AR. TiO2 foams with poly(d, l-lactic acid) (PDLLA) and PDLLA/Bioglass coatings for bone tissue engineering scaffolds. J Mater Sci. 2009;44:1442–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Longmuir IS, Bourke A. The measurement of the diffusion of oxygen through respiring tissue. Biochem J. 1960;76(2):225–9.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zaritzky NE, Bevilacqua AE. Oxygen diffusion in meat tissues. Int J Heat Mass Transf. 1988;31:923–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Evans NTS, Naylor PFD, Quinton TH. The diffusion coefficient of oxygen in respiring kidney and tumour tissue. Respir Physiol. 1981;43:179–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nogueira RA, Grandini CR. Oxygen diffusion in Ti-20Mo alloys, used as biomaterial, measured by mechanical spectroscopy. Defect Diffus Forum. 2012;326–328:702–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cava D, Gimenez E, Gavara R, Lagaron JM. Comparative performance and barrier properties of biodegradable thermoplastics and nanobiocomposites versus pet for food packaging applications. J Plast Film Sheeting. 2006;22:265–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Jones JR, Ehrenfried LM, Hench LL. Optimising bioactive glass scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2006;27:964–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    German RM. Particle packing characteristics. Princeton: Metal Powder Industries Federation; 1989.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Schneider CA, Rasband WS, Eliceiri KW. NIH Image to ImageJ: 25 years of image analysis. Nat Methods. 2012;9:671–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Doube M, Kłosowski MM, Arganda-Carreras I, Cordeliéres F, Dougherty RP, Jackson J, et al. BoneJ: free and extensible bone image analysis in ImageJ. Bone. 2010;47:1076–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fiedler T, Fisher M, Roether JA, Belova IV, Samtleben T, Bernthaler T, et al. Strengthening mechanism of PDLLA coated titania foam. Mech Mater. 2014;69:35–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Fiedler
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. V. Belova
    • 1
  • G. E. Murch
    • 1
  • G. Poologasundarampillai
    • 2
  • J. R. Jones
    • 2
  • J. A. Roether
    • 3
  • A. R. Boccaccini
    • 4
  1. 1.School of EngineeringThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Department of MaterialsImperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of Polymer MaterialsUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of BiomaterialsUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

Personalised recommendations