Repairing a critical-sized bone defect with highly porous modified and unmodified baghdadite scaffolds.
ABSTRACT This is the first reported study to prepare highly porous baghdadite (Ca(3)ZrSi(2)O(9)) scaffolds with and without surface modification and investigate their ability to repair critical-sized bone defects in a rabbit radius under normal load. The modification was carried out to improve the mechanical properties of the baghdadite scaffolds (particularly to address their brittleness) by coating their surfaces with a thin layer (∼400nm) of polycaprolactone (PCL)/bioactive glass nanoparticles (nBGs). The β-tricalcium phosphate/hydroxyapatite (TCP/HA) scaffolds with and without modification were used as the control groups. All of the tested scaffolds had an open and interconnected porous structure with a porosity of ∼85% and average pore size of 500μm. The scaffolds (six per scaffold type and size of 4mm×4mm×15mm) were implanted (press-fit) into the rabbit radial segmental defects for 12weeks. Micro-computed tomography and histological evaluations were used to determine bone ingrowth, bone quality, and implant integration after 12weeks of healing. Extensive new bone formation with complete bridging of the radial defect was evident with the baghdadite scaffolds (modified/unmodified) at the periphery and in close proximity to the ceramics within the pores, in contrast to TCP/HA scaffolds (modified/unmodified), where bone tended to grow between the ulna adjacent to the implant edge. Although the modification of the baghdadite scaffolds significantly improved their mechanical properties, it did not show any significant effect on in vivo bone formation. Our findings suggest that baghdadite scaffolds with and without modification can serve as a potential material to repair critical sized bone defects.