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Magn Reson Med. 2013 Oct;70(4):925-35. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24541. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

The pore size of PLGA bone implants determines the de novo formation of bone tissue in tibial head defects in rats.

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Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.



The influence of the pore size of biodegradable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) scaffolds on bone regeneration was investigated.


Cylindrical poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) scaffolds were implanted into a defect in the tibial head of rats. Pore sizes of 100-300, 300-500, and 500-710 μm were tested and compared to untreated defects as control. Two and four weeks after implantation, the specimens were explanted and defect regeneration and de novo extracellular matrix generation were investigated by MRI, quantitative solid-state NMR, and mass spectrometry.


The pore size of the scaffolds had a pronounced influence on the quantity of the extracellular matrix synthesized in the graft; most collagen was synthesized within the first 2 weeks of implantation, while the amount of hydroxyapatite increased in the second 2 weeks. After 4 weeks, the scaffolds contained large quantities of newly formed lamellar bone while the control defects were filled by inhomogenous woven bone. Best results were obtained for scaffolds of a pore size of 300-500 μm.


Our analysis showed that the structure and dynamics of the regenerated extracellular matrix was very similar to that of the native bone, suggesting that biomineralization was significantly enhanced by the choice of the most appropriate implant material.


PLGA; bone apatite; bone collagen; magic‐angle spinning NMR; order parameters

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