The production of complex inorganic forms, based on naturally occurring scaffolds offers an exciting avenue for the construction of a new generation of ceramic-based bone substitute scaffolds. The following study reports an investigation into the architecture (porosity, pore size distribution, pore interconnectivity and permeability), mechanical properties and cytotoxic response of hydroxyapatite bone substitutes produced using synthetic polymer foam and natural marine sponge performs. Infiltration of polyurethane foam (60 pores/in2) using a high solid content (80wt %), low viscosity (0.126Pas) hydroxyapatite slurry yielded 84-91% porous replica scaffolds with pore sizes ranging from 50µm - 1000µm (average pore size 577µm), 99.99% pore interconnectivity and a permeability value of 46.4 x10-10m2. Infiltration of the natural marine sponge, Spongia agaricina, yielded scaffolds with 56- 61% porosity, with 40% of pores between 0-50µm, 60% of pores between 50-500µm (average pore size 349 µm), 99.9% pore interconnectivity and a permeability value of 16.8 x10-10m2. The average compressive strengths and compressive moduli of the natural polymer foam and marine sponge replicas were 2.46±1.43MPa/0.099±0.014GPa and 8.4±0.83MPa /0.16±0.016GPa respectively. Cytotoxic response proved encouraging for the HA Spongia agaricina scaffolds; after 7 days in culture medium the scaffolds exhibited endothelial cells (HUVEC and HDMEC) and osteoblast (MG63) attachment, proliferation on the scaffold surface and penetration into the pores. It is proposed that the use of Spongia agaricina as a precursor material allows for the reliable and repeatable production of ceramic-based 3-D tissue engineered scaffolds exhibiting the desired architectural and mechanical characteristics for use as a bone 3 scaffold material. Moreover, the Spongia agaricina scaffolds produced exhibit no adverse cytotoxic response.
Cunningham, E., Dunne, N., Clarke, S., Choi, S. Y., Walker, G., Wilcox, R., Unger, R. E., Buchanan, F., & Kirkpatrick, C. J. (2011). Comparative Characterisation of 3-D Hydroxyapatite Scaffolds Developed via Replication of Synthetic Polymer Foams and Natural Marine Sponges. Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering, S1(001), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.4172/2157-7552.S1-001