by Keyword: Direct ink writing

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Vidal, E., Torres, D., Guillem-Marti, J., Scionti, G., Manero, J. M., Ginebra, M. P., Rodríguez, D., Rupérez, E., (2020). Titanium scaffolds by direct ink writing: Fabrication and functionalization to guide osteoblast behavior Metals 10, (9), 1156

Titanium (Ti) and Ti alloys have been used for decades for bone prostheses due to its mechanical reliability and good biocompatibility. However, the high stiffness of Ti implants and the lack of bioactivity are pending issues that should be improved to minimize implant failure. The stress shielding effect, a result of the stiffness mismatch between titanium and bone, can be reduced by introducing a tailored structural porosity in the implant. In this work, porous titanium structures were produced by direct ink writing (DIW), using a new Ti ink formulation containing a thermosensitive hydrogel. A thermal treatment was optimized to ensure the complete elimination of the binder before the sintering process, in order to avoid contamination of the titanium structures. The samples were sintered in argon atmosphere at 1200 °C, 1300 °C or 1400 °C, resulting in total porosities ranging between 72.3% and 77.7%. A correlation was found between the total porosity and the elastic modulus of the scaffolds. The stiffness and yield strength were similar to those of cancellous bone. The functionalization of the scaffold surface with a cell adhesion fibronectin recombinant fragment resulted in enhanced adhesion and spreading of osteoblastic-like cells, together with increased alkaline phosphatase expression and mineralization.

Keywords: Direct ink writing, Osseointegration, Recombinant protein, Thermoresponsive binder, Titanium, Titanium scaffold

Raymond, Santiago, Maazouz, Yassine, Montufar, Edgar B., Perez, Roman A., González, Borja, Konka, Joanna, Kaiser, Jozef, Ginebra, Maria-Pau, (2018). Accelerated hardening of nanotextured 3D-plotted self-setting calcium phosphate inks Acta Biomaterialia 75, 451-462

Direct ink writing (DIW) techniques open up new possibilities for the fabrication of patient-specific bone grafts. Self-setting calcium phosphate inks, which harden at low temperature, allow obtaining nanostructured scaffolds with biomimetic properties and enhanced bioactivity. However, the slow hardening kinetics hampers the translation to the clinics. Different hydrothermal treatments for the consolidation of DIW scaffolds fabricated with an α-tricalcium phosphate /pluronic F127 ink were explored, comparing them with a biomimetic treatment. Three different scaffold architectures were analysed. The hardening process, associated to the conversion of α-tricalcium phosphate to hydroxyapatite was drastically accelerated by the hydrothermal treatments, reducing the time for complete reaction from 7 days to 30 minutes, while preserving the scaffold architectural integrity and retaining the nanostructured features. β-tricalcium phosphate was formed as a secondary phase, and a change of morphology from plate-like to needle-like crystals in the hydroxyapatite phase was observed. The binder was largely released during the treatment. The hydrothermal treatment resulted in a 30% reduction of the compressive strength, associated to the residual presence of β-tricalcium phosphate. Biomimetic and hydrothermally treated scaffolds supported the adhesion and proliferation of rat mesenchymal stem cells, indicating a good suitability for bone tissue engineering applications. Statement of Significance: 3D plotting has opened up new perspectives in the bone regeneration field allowing the customisation of synthetic bone grafts able to fit patient-specific bone defects. Moreover, this technique allows the control of the scaffolds’ architecture and porosity. The present work introduces a new method to harden biomimetic hydroxyapatite 3D-plotted scaffolds which avoids high-temperature sintering. It has two main advantages: i) it is fast and simple, reducing the whole fabrication process from the several days required for the biomimetic processing to a few hours; and ii) it retains the nanostructured character of biomimetic hydroxyapatite and allows controlling the porosity from the nano- to the macroscale. Moreover, the good in vitro cytocompatibility results support its suitability for cell-based bone regeneration therapies.

Keywords: Calcium phosphate, Hydroxyapatite, Biomimetic, Bone regeneration, 3D plotting, Direct ink writing, Bone graft