β-Tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) is osteoconductive, while β-calcium silicate (β-CS) is bioactive with osteostimulative properties. Porous β-CaSiO(3)/β-Ca(3)(PO(4))(2) composite bioceramic scaffolds with various β-TCP:β-CS ratios were designed to combine both osteoconductivity and osteostimulation in order to enhance bone regeneration. The composite scaffolds were implanted in critical sized femur defects (6×12 mm) for 4, 12 and 26weeks with pure β-TCP and β-CS scaffolds as the controls. The in vivo biodegradation and bone regeneration of the specimens were investigated using sequential histological evaluations, immunohistochemical examination and micro-computed tomography technology. The results showed that the scaffolds with 50 and 80 wt.% β-CS dramatically enhanced the amount of newly formed bone and reduced the degradation rate. In contrast, porous β-CS displayed poor new bone formation due to its rapid degradation, while porous β-TCP showed moderate bone regeneration starting on the surface of the implants, due to a lack of osteostimulation. More importantly, the scaffolds with 50 and 80 wt.% β-CS not only had excellent osteoconductivity, but also stimulated rapid bone formation, and they could degrade progressively at a rate matching the regeneration of new bone. In summary, our findings indicated that the degradation rate and bioactivity of β-CS/β-TCP composite bioceramic scaffolds could be adjusted by controlling the ratio of β-CS to β-TCP, suggesting the potential application of β-CS/β-TCP composite bioceramic scaffolds with 50 and 80 wt.% β-CS component in hard tissue regeneration and bone tissue engineering.
Copyright © 2011 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.