Three-dimensional printing is one of the most promising techniques for the manufacturing of scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. However, a pure scaffold is limited by its biological properties. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been shown to have the potential to improve the osteogenic effect. In this study, we improved the biological properties of scaffolds by coating 3D-printed polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds with freeze-dried and traditionally prepared PRP, and we evaluated these scaffolds through in vitro and in vivo experiments. In vitro, we evaluated the interaction between dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) and the scaffolds by measuring cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and osteogenic differentiation. The results showed that freeze-dried PRP significantly enhanced ALP activity and the mRNA expression levels of osteogenic genes (ALP, RUNX2 (runt-related gene-2), OCN (osteocalcin), OPN (osteopontin)) of DPSCs (p < 0.05). In vivo, 5 mm calvarial defects were created, and the PRP-PCL scaffolds were implanted. The data showed that compared with traditional PRP-PCL scaffolds or bare PCL scaffolds, the freeze-dried PRP-PCL scaffolds induced significantly greater bone formation (p < 0.05). All these data suggest that coating 3D-printed PCL scaffolds with freeze-dried PRP can promote greater osteogenic differentiation of DPSCs and induce more bone formation, which may have great potential in future clinical applications.
Keywords: 3D-printed scaffold; bone regeneration; platelet-rich plasma; polycaprolactone.