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Novel osteoconductive β-tricalcium phosphate/poly(L-lactide-co-e-caprolactone) scaffold for bone regeneration: a study in a rabbit calvarial defect


The advantages of synthetic bone graft substitutes over autogenous bone grafts include abundant graft volume, lack of complications related to the graft harvesting, and shorter operation and recovery times for the patient. We studied a new synthetic supercritical CO2 –processed porous composite scaffold of β-tricalcium phosphate and poly(L-lactide-co-caprolactone) copolymer as a bone graft substitute in a rabbit calvarial defect. Bilateral 12 mm diameter critical size calvarial defects were successfully created in 18 rabbits. The right defect was filled with a scaffold moistened with bone marrow aspirate, and the other was an empty control. The material was assessed for applicability during surgery. The follow-up times were 4, 12, and 24 weeks. Radiographic and micro-CT studies and histopathological analysis were used to evaluate new bone formation, tissue ingrowth, and biocompatibility. The scaffold was easy to shape and handle during the surgery, and the bone-scaffold contact was tight when visually evaluated after the implantation. The material showed good biocompatibility and its porosity enabled rapid invasion of vasculature and full thickness mesenchymal tissue ingrowth already at four weeks. By 24 weeks, full thickness bone ingrowth within the scaffold and along the dura was generally seen. In contrast, the empty defect had only a thin layer of new bone at 24 weeks. The radiodensity of the material was similar to the density of the intact bone. In conclusion, the new porous scaffold material, composed of microgranular β-TCP bound into the polymer matrix, proved to be a promising osteoconductive bone graft substitute with excellent handling properties.

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This study was financially supported by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (40326/13) and by grants from the Finnish Foundation of Veterinary Research and The Finnish Veterinary Foundation. The authors kindly acknowledge DVM Mikael Morelius for the help with surgical procedures.

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Correspondence to Hanna Pihlman.

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Pihlman, H., Keränen, P., Paakinaho, K. et al. Novel osteoconductive β-tricalcium phosphate/poly(L-lactide-co-e-caprolactone) scaffold for bone regeneration: a study in a rabbit calvarial defect. J Mater Sci: Mater Med 29, 156 (2018).

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