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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49955. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049955. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Influence of architecture of β-tricalcium phosphate scaffolds on biological performance in repairing segmental bone defects.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China.



Although three-dimensional (3D) β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) scaffolds serve as promising bone graft substitutes for the segmental bone defect treatment, no consensus has been achieved regarding their optimal 3D architecture.


In this study, we has systematically compared four types of β-TCP bone graft substitutes with different 3D architectures, including two types of porous scaffolds, one type of tubular scaffolds and one type of solid scaffolds, for their efficacy in treating segmental bone defect in a rabbit model.


Our study has demonstrated that when compared to the traditional porous and solid scaffolds, tubular scaffolds promoted significantly higher amount of new bone formation in the defect regions as shown by X-ray, micro CT examinations and histological analysis, restored much greater mechanical properties of the damaged bone evidenced by the biomechanical testing, and eventually achieved the complete union of segmental defect. Moreover, the implantation of tubular scaffolds enhanced the neo-vascularization at the defect region with higher bone metabolic activities than others, as indicated by the bone scintigraphy assay.


This study has further the current knowledge regarding the profound influence of overall 3D architecture of β-TCP scaffolds on their in vivo defect healing performance and illuminated the promising potential use of tubular scaffolds as effective bone graft substitute in treating large segmental bone defects.

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