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Biomaterials. 2003 Sep;24(21):3815-24.

Osteoblast growth and function in porous poly epsilon -caprolactone matrices for bone repair: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Laboratorio di Fisiopatologia degli Impianti Ortopedici, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40139, Bologna, Italy.


Current methods for the replacement of skeletal tissue involve the use of autografts, allografts and, recently, synthetic substitutes, which provide a proper amount of material to repair large bone defects. Engineered bone seems a promising approach, but a number of variables have to be set prior to any clinical application. In this study, four different poly caprolactone-based polymers (PCL) were prepared and tested in vitro using osteoblast-like Saos-2 cells. Differences among three-dimensional polymers include porosity, addition of hydroxyapatite (HA) particles, and treatment with simulated body fluid. Biochemical parameters to assess cell/material interactions include viability, growth, alkaline phosphatase release, and mineralization of osteoblastic cells seeded onto three-dimensional samples, while their morphology was observed using light microscopy and SEM. Preliminary results show that the polymers, though degrading in the medium, have a positive interaction with cells, as they support cell growth and functions. In the short-term culture (3-7 days) of Saos-2 on polymers, little differences were found among PCL samples, with the presence of HA moderately improving the number of cells onto the surfaces. In the long term (3-4 weeks), it was found that the HA-added polymers obtained the best colonization by cells, and more mineral formation was observed after coating with SBF. It can be concluded that PCL is a promising material for three-dimensional scaffold for bone formation, and the presence of bone-like components improves osteoblast activity.

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