Fabrication of multilayer ZrO₂-biphasic calcium phosphate-poly-caprolactone unidirectional channeled scaffold for bone tissue formation.

Abstract

We developed a continuously porous scaffold with laminated matrix and bone-like microstructure by a multi-pass extrusion process. In this scaffold, tetragonal ZrO₂, biphasic calcium phosphate and poly-caprolactone layers were arranged in a co-axially laminated unit cell with a channel in the center. The entire matrix phase had a laminated microstructure of alternate lamina of tetragonal ZrO₂, biphasic calcium phosphate and poly-caprolactone--biphasic calcium phosphate with optimized designed thickness and channeled porosity. Each of the continuous pores was coaxially encircled by the poly-caprolactone--biphasic calcium phosphate layer, biphasic calcium phosphate layer and finally tetragonal ZrO₂ layer, one after the other. Before extrusion, 5 vol% graphite powder was mixed with tetragonal ZrO₂ to ensure pores in the outer layer and connectivity among the lamellas. The design strategy is aimed to incorporate a lamellar microstructure like the natural bone in the macro-scaled ceramic body to investigate the strengthening phenomenon and pave the way for fabricating complex microstructure of natural bone could be applied for whole bone replacement. The final fabricated scaffold had a compressive strength of 12.7 MPa and porosity of 78 vol% with excellent cell viability, cell attachment and osteocalcin and collagen expression from cultured MG63 cells on scaffold.

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