Freeze Extrusion Fabrication of 13-93 Bioactive Glass Scaffolds for Bone Repair
There is an increasing demand for synthetic scaffolds with the requisite biocompatibility, internal architecture, and mechanical properties for the bone repair and regeneration. In this work, scaffolds of a silicate bioactive glass (13-93) were prepared by a freeze extrusion fabrication (FEF) method and evaluated in vitro for potential applications in bone repair and regeneration. The process parameters for FEF production of scaffolds with the requisite microstructural characteristics, as well as the mechanical and cell culture response of the scaffolds were evaluated. After binder burnout and sintering (60 min at 700°C), the scaffolds consisted of a dense glass network with interpenetrating pores (porosity ≈ 50%; pore width = 100−500 µm). These scaffolds had a compressive strength of 140 ± 70 MPa, which is comparable to the strength of human cortical bone and far higher than the strengths of bioactive glass and ceramic scaffolds prepared by more conventional methods. The scaffolds also supported the proliferation of osteogenic MLO-A5 cells, indicating their biocompatibility. Potential application of these scaffolds in the repair and regeneration of load-bearing bones, such as segmental defects in long bones, is discussed.