Poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)-based bone cements are the most commonly used injectable orthopedic materials due to their excellent injectability and mechanical properties. However, their poor biocompatibility and excessive stiffness may cause complications such as aseptic implant loosening and stress shielding. In this study, we aimed to develop a new type of partially biodegradable composite bone cement by incorporating magnesium (Mg) microspheres, known as "Mg sacrifices" (MgSs), in the PMMA matrix. Being sensitive to the physiological environment, the MgSs in PMMA could gradually degrade to produce bioactive Mg ions and, meanwhile, result in an interconnected macroporous structure within the cement matrix. The mechanical properties, solidification, and biocompatibility, both in vitro and in vivo, of PMMA⁻Mg bone cement were characterized. Interestingly, the incorporation of Mg microspheres did not markedly affect the mechanical strength of bone cement. However, the maximum temperature upon setting of bone cement decreased. This partially biodegradable composite bone cement showed good biocompatibility in vitro. In the in vivo study, considerable bony ingrowth occurred in the pores upon MgS degradation. Together, the findings from this study indicate that such partially biodegradable PMMA⁻Mg composite may be ideal bone cement for minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.
Keywords: PMMA; bone cement; magnesium; osseointegration; partial degradation.