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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 May 1;11(17):15306-15315. doi: 10.1021/acsami.9b02502. Epub 2019 Apr 22.

Three-Dimensional Printed Polylactic Acid Scaffolds Promote Bone-like Matrix Deposition in Vitro.

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Orthopaedic Department, Faculty of Medicine , King Abdulaziz University , Jeddah 21589 , Saudi Arabia.
Shriners Hospital for Children , Montreal H4A 0A9 , Canada.


Large bone defects represent a significant challenge for clinicians and surgeons. Tissue engineering for bone regeneration represents an innovative solution for this dilemma and may yield attractive alternate bone substitutes. Three-dimensional (3D) printing with inexpensive desktop printers shows promise in generating high-resolution structures mimicking native tissues using biocompatible, biodegradable, and cost-effective thermoplastics, which are already FDA-approved for food use, drug delivery, and many medical devices. Microporous 3D-printed polylactic acid scaffolds, with different pore sizes (500, 750, and 1000 μm), were designed and manufactured using an inexpensive desktop 3D printer, and the mechanical properties were assessed. The scaffolds were compared for cell growth, activity, and bone-like tissue formation using primary human osteoblasts. Osteoblasts showed high proliferation, metabolic activity, and osteogenic matrix protein production, in which 750 μm pore-size scaffolds showed superiority. Further experimentation using human mesenchymal stem cells on 750 μm pore scaffolds showed their ability in supporting osteogenic differentiation. These findings suggest that even in the absence of any surface modifications, low-cost 750 μm pore-size 3D-printed scaffolds may be suitable as a bone substitute for repair of large bone defects.


3D printing; PLA; bone defect; bone repair; human osteoblasts; low-cost; mesenchymal stem cells; tissue engineering


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