Bioactive glass coating on gelatin scaffolds at ambient temperature: easy route to make polymer scaffolds become bioactive


Increasing the bioactivity of polymeric materials used for bone repair is a concern that can be achieved by loading growth factors or using in vitro tissue engineering approach. However, these techniques may have to address regulatory issues as the implants are shifted from the medical device class to the more constraining drug delivery systems. Alternatively, implants can be coated with bioceramics to achieve bioactivity, but existing coating processes can hardly be applied to polymers because they usually involve thermal treatments or sintering. Here we report an efficient way of coating a bioactive glass phase onto a complex polymeric substrate, namely gelatin scaffolds with controlled spherical porosity, at ambient temperature through a dip-coating process. A multiscale analysis of the bioactive glass-coated gelatin scaffolds properties has been carried out. Homogeneous and remarkably uniform layer of SiO2–CaO bioactive glass is obtained. The bioactive glass coating exhibits a very high and fast apatite-forming ability, with full mineralization of the coating being achieved in less than 24 h contact with body fluids. Importantly, the mineralization takes place homogeneously throughout the scaffold while the remarkable uniformity and thickness regularity of the coating are preserved. These features should enhance the in vivo behaviour of polymer scaffolds and make reconsider the interest of non-bioactive polymers for tissue engineering.

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The Conseil Régional d’Auvergne is acknowledged for funding (“New Researcher” Grant). The Centre d’Etudes Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan and the AIFIRA staff are acknowledged for allowing the PIXE experiments and for technical support.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Lao.

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Lao, J., Dieudonné, X., Benbakkar, M. et al. Bioactive glass coating on gelatin scaffolds at ambient temperature: easy route to make polymer scaffolds become bioactive. J Mater Sci 52, 9129–9139 (2017).

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  • Apatite
  • Simulated Body Fluid
  • Bioactive Glass
  • PIXE
  • Polymer Scaffold