Physicochemical and mechanical properties of freeze cast hydroxyapatite-gelatin scaffolds with dexamethasone loaded PLGA microspheres for hard tissue engineering applications

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2016 Dec 1;69:208-20. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2016.06.079. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


Hydroxyapatite (HA)-gelatin scaffolds incorporated with dexamethasone-loaded polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) microspheres were synthesized by freeze casting technique. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs demonstrated a unidirectional microstructure and a decrease in the pore size as a function of temperature gradient. Higher amounts of HA resulted in a decrease in the pore size. According to the results, at lower cooling rates, the formation of a lamellar structure decreased the mechanical strength, but at the same time, enhanced the swelling ratio, biodegradation rate and drug release level. On the other hand, higher weight ratios of HA increased the compressive strength, and reduced the swelling ratio, biodegradation rate and drug release level. The results obtained by furrier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and bioactivity analysis illustrated that the interactions of the materials support the apatite formation in the simulated body fluid (SBF) solution. Based on the obtained results, the synthesized composite scaffolds have the necessary mechanical and physicochemical features to support the regeneration of defects and to maintain their stability during the neo-tissue formation.

Keywords: Dexamethasone; Drug delivery; Freeze casting; Hard tissue engineering; Microsphere; Scaffold.

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Compressive Strength
  • Dexamethasone / chemistry*
  • Dexamethasone / metabolism
  • Drug Liberation
  • Durapatite / chemistry*
  • Freezing
  • Gelatin / chemistry*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microspheres*
  • Polyglycolic Acid / chemistry*
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Porosity
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Engineering*


  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Dexamethasone
  • Gelatin
  • Durapatite