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by Keyword: Porosity

Widhe, M, Diez-Escudero, A, Liu, YL, Ringstrom, N, Ginebra, MP, Persson, C, Hedhammar, M, Mestres, G, (2022). Functionalized silk promotes cell migration into calcium phosphate cements by providing macropores and cell adhesion motifs Ceramics International 48, 31449-31460

Calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) are attractive synthetic bone grafts as they possess osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties. Their biomimetic synthesis grants them an intrinsic nano-and microporosity that resembles natural bone and is paramount for biological processes such as protein adhesion, which can later enhance cell adhesion. However, a main limitation of CPCs is the lack of macroporosity, which is crucial to allow cell colonization throughout the scaffold. Moreover, CPCs lack specific motifs to guide cell interactions through their membrane proteins. In this study, we explore a strategy targeting simultaneously both macroporosity and cell binding motifs within CPCs by the use of recombinant silk. A silk protein functionalized with the cell binding motif RGD serves as foaming template of CPCs to achieve biomimetic hydroxyapatite (HA) scaffolds with multiscale porosity. The synergies of RGD-motifs in the silk macroporous template and the biomimetic features of HA are explored for their potential to enhance mesenchymal stem cell adhesion, proliferation, migration and differentiation. Macroporous Silk-HA scaffolds improve initial cell adhesion compared to a macroporous HA in the absence of silk, and importantly, the presence of silk greatly enhances cell migration into the scaffold. Additionally, cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation are achieved in the scaffolds.

JTD Keywords: Bioceramics, Bone, Bone regeneration, Composites, Degradation, Fabrication, Hydroxyapatite, Hydroxyapatite scaffolds, Injectability, Porosity, Recombinant spider silk, Rgd motifs, Silk, Stem-cells


Raymond, Y, Lehmann, C, Thorel, E, Benitez, R, Riveiro, A, Pou, J, Manzanares, MC, Franch, J, Canal, C, Ginebra, MP, (2022). 3D printing with star-shaped strands: A new approach to enhance in vivo bone regeneration Biomaterials Advances 137, 212807

Concave surfaces have shown to promote bone regeneration in vivo. However, bone scaffolds obtained by direct ink writing, one of the most promising approaches for the fabrication of personalized bone grafts, consist mostly of convex surfaces, since they are obtained by microextrusion of cylindrical strands. By modifying the geometry of the nozzle, it is possible to print 3D structures composed of non-cylindrical strands and favor the presence of concave surfaces. In this work, we compare the in vivo performance of 3D-printed calcium phosphate scaffolds with either conventional cylindrical strands or star-shaped strands, in a rabbit femoral condyle model. Mono cortical defects, drilled in contralateral positions, are randomly grafted with the two scaffold configurations, with identical composition. The samples are explanted eight weeks post-surgery and assessed by ??-CT and resin embedded histological observations. The results reveal that the scaffolds containing star-shaped strands have better osteoconductive properties, guiding the newly formed bone faster towards the core of the scaffolds, and enhance bone regeneration, although the increase is not statistically significant (p > 0.05). This new approach represents a turning point towards the optimization of pore shape in 3D-printed bone grafts, further boosting the possibilities that direct ink writing technology offers for patient-specific applications.

JTD Keywords: 3d printing, Architecture, Biomimetic calcium phosphate, Bone regeneration, Calcium-phosphate scaffolds, Geometry, Growth, Implants, In vivo, Induction, Microporosity, Osteoinduction, Pore architecture, Scaffold, Surfaces, Tissue


Raymond Y, Bonany M, Lehmann C, Thorel E, Benítez R, Franch J, Espanol M, Solé-Martí X, Manzanares MC, Canal C, Ginebra MP, (2021). Hydrothermal processing of 3D-printed calcium phosphate scaffolds enhances bone formation in vivo: a comparison with biomimetic treatment Acta Biomaterialia 135, 671-688

Hydrothermal (H) processes accelerate the hydrolysis reaction of α-tricalcium phosphate (α-TCP) compared to the long-established biomimetic (B) treatments. They are of special interest for patient-specific 3D-printed bone graft substitutes, where the manufacturing time represents a critical constraint. Altering the reaction conditions has implications for the physicochemical properties of the reaction product. However, the impact of the changes produced by the hydrothermal reaction on the in vivo performance was hitherto unknown. The present study compares the bone regeneration potential of 3D-printed α-TCP scaffolds hardened using these two treatments in rabbit condyle monocortical defects. Although both consolidation processes resulted in biocompatible scaffolds with osseointegrative and osteoconductive properties, the amount of newly formed bone increased by one third in the hydrothermal vs the biomimetic samples. B and H scaffolds consisted mostly of high specific surface area calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite (38 and 27 m2 g-1, respectively), with H samples containing also 10 wt.% β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP). The shrinkage produced during the consolidation process was shown to be very small in both cases, below 3%, and smaller for H than for B samples. The differences in the in vivo performance were mainly attributed to the distinct crystallisation nanostructures, which proved to have a major impact on permeability and protein adsorption capacity, using BSA as a model protein, with B samples being highly impermeable. Given the crucial role that soluble proteins play in osteogenesis, this is proposed to be a relevant factor behind the distinct in vivo performances observed for the two materials. Statement of significance: The possibility to accelerate the consolidation of self-setting calcium phosphate inks through hydrothermal treatments has aroused great interest due to the associated advantages for the development of 3D-printed personalised bone scaffolds. Understanding the implications of this approach on the in vivo performance of the scaffolds is of paramount importance. This study compares, for the first time, this treatment to the long-established biomimetic setting strategy in terms of osteogenic potential in vivo in a rabbit model, and relates the results obtained to the physicochemical properties of the 3D-printed scaffolds (composition, crystallinity, nanostructure, nanoporosity) and their interaction with soluble proteins.

JTD Keywords: 3d printing, behavior, biomimetic, bone scaffolds, calcium phosphate, deficient hydroxyapatite, design, graft, hydrothermal, in vivo, morbidity, osteoinduction, porosity, standard, tricalcium phosphate, 3d printing, Biomimetic, Bone scaffolds, Calcium phosphate, Fibula free-flap, Hydrothermal, In vivo


Konka J, Buxadera-Palomero J, Espanol M, Ginebra M-P, (2021). 3D printing of hierarchical porous biomimetic hydroxyapatite scaffolds: Adding concavities to the convex filaments Acta Biomaterialia 134, 744-759

Porosity plays a key role on the osteogenic performance of bone scaffolds. Direct Ink Writing (DIW) allows the design of customized synthetic bone grafts with patient-specific architecture and controlled macroporosity. Being an extrusion-based technique, the scaffolds obtained are formed by arrays of cylindrical filaments, and therefore have convex surfaces. This may represent a serious limitation, as the role of surface curvature and more specifically the stimulating role of concave surfaces in osteoinduction and bone growth has been recently highlighted. Hence the need to design strategies that allow the introduction of concave pores in DIW scaffolds. In the current study, we propose to add gelatin microspheres as a sacrificial material in a self-setting calcium phosphate ink. Neither the phase transformation responsible for the hardening of the scaffold nor the formation of characteristic network of needle-like hydroxyapatite crystals was affected by the addition of gelatin microspheres. The partial dissolution of the gelatin resulted in the creation of spherical pores throughout the filaments and exposed on the surface, increasing filament porosity from 0.2 % to 67.9 %. Moreover, the presence of retained gelatin proved to have a significant effect on the mechanical properties, reducing the strength but simultaneously giving the scaffolds an elastic behavior, despite the high content of ceramic as a continuous phase. Notwithstanding the inherent difficulty of in vitro cultures with this highly reactive material an enhancement of MG-63 cell proliferation, as well as better spreading of hMSCs was recorded on the developed scaffolds. Statement of significance: Recent studies have stressed the role that concave surfaces play in tissue regeneration and, more specifically, in osteoinduction and osteogenesis. Direct ink writing enables the production of patient-specific bone grafts with controlled architecture. However, besides many advantages, it has the serious limitation that the surfaces obtained are convex. In this article, for the first time we develop a strategy to introduce concave pores in the printed filaments of biomimetic hydroxyapatite by incorporation and partial dissolution of gelatin microspheres. The retention of part of the gelatin results in a more elastic behavior compared to the brittleness of hydroxyapatite scaffolds, while the needle-shaped nanostructure of biomimetic hydroxyapatite is maintained and gelatin-coated concave pores on the surface of the filaments enhance cell spreading. © 2021 The Authors

JTD Keywords: 3d printing, bioceramics, biomimetic, bone, bone regeneration, concavity, concavity, bone regeneration, gelatin, hydrogel, hydroxyapatite, microspheres, osteoinduction, porosity, porous filament, substitutes, tissue-growth, 3d printing, Biomimetic, Calcium-phosphate scaffolds, Concavity, bone regeneration, Gelatin, Hydroxyapatite, Porous filament


Zeinali R, Del Valle LJ, Torras J, Puiggalí J, (2021). Recent progress on biodegradable tissue engineering scaffolds prepared by thermally-induced phase separation (Tips) International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 22,

Porous biodegradable scaffolds provide a physical substrate for cells allowing them to attach, proliferate and guide the formation of new tissues. A variety of techniques have been developed to fabricate tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds, among them the most relevant is the thermally-induced phase separation (TIPS). This technique has been widely used in recent years to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) TE scaffolds. Low production cost, simple experimental procedure and easy processability together with the capability to produce highly porous scaffolds with controllable architecture justify the popularity of TIPS. This paper provides a general overview of the TIPS methodology applied for the preparation of 3D porous TE scaffolds. The recent advances in the fabrication of porous scaffolds through this technique, in terms of technology and material selection, have been reviewed. In addition, how properties can be effectively modified to serve as ideal substrates for specific target cells has been specifically addressed. Additionally, examples are offered with re-spect to changes of TIPS procedure parameters, the combination of TIPS with other techniques and innovations in polymer or filler selection.

JTD Keywords: biodegradable polymer, composites, morphology, pore structure, porosity, processing parameters, thermally induced phase separation, Biodegradable polymer, Composites, Morphology, Pore structure, Porosity, Processing parameters, Thermally induced phase separation, Tissue engineering scaffold


Diez-Escudero, A., Espanol, M., Beats, S., Ginebra, M. P., (2017). In vitro degradation of calcium phosphates: Effect of multiscale porosity, textural properties and composition Acta Biomaterialia 60, 81-92

The capacity of calcium phosphates to be replaced by bone is tightly linked to their resorbability. However, the relative importance of some textural parameters on their degradation behavior is still unclear. The present study aims to quantify the effect of composition, specific surface area (SSA), and porosity at various length scales (nano-, micro- and macroporosity) on the in vitro degradation of different calcium phosphates. Degradation studies were performed in an acidic medium to mimic the osteoclastic environment. Small degradations were found in samples with interconnected nano- and micropores with sizes below 3 µm although they were highly porous (35–65%), with maximum weight loss of 8 wt%. Biomimetic calcium deficient hydroxyapatite, with high SSA and low crystallinity, presented the highest degradation rates exceeding even the more soluble β-TCP. A dependence of degradation on SSA was indisputable when porosity and pore sizes were increased. The introduction of additional macroporosity with pore interconnections above 20 µm significantly impacted degradation, more markedly in the substrates with high SSA (>15 m2/g), whereas in sintered substrates with low SSA (<1 m2/g) it resulted just in a linear increase of degradation. Up to 30 % of degradation was registered in biomimetic substrates, compared to 15 % in β-TCP or 8 % in sintered hydroxyapatite. The incorporation of carbonate in calcium deficient hydroxyapatite did not increase its degradation rate. Overall, the study highlights the importance of textural properties, which can modulate or even outweigh the effect of other features such as the solubility of the compounds. Statement of Significance The physicochemical features of calcium phosphates are crucial to tune biological events like resorption during bone remodeling. Understanding in vitro resorption can help to predict the in vivo behavior. Besides chemical composition, other parameters such as porosity and specific surface area have a strong influence on resorption. The complexity of isolating the contribution of each parameter lies in the close interrelation between them. In this work, a multiscale study was proposed to discern the extent to which each parameter influences degradation in a variety of calcium phosphates, using an acidic medium to resemble the osteoclastic environment. The results emphasize the importance of textural properties, which can modulate or even outweigh the effect of the intrinsic solubility of the compounds.

JTD Keywords: Calcium phosphates, Degradation, Porosity, Textural properties


Malandrino, Andrea, Lacroix, Damien, Hellmich, Christian, Ito, Keita, Ferguson, Stephen J., Noailly, J., (2014). The role of endplate poromechanical properties on the nutrient availability in the intervertebral disc Osteoarthritis and Cartilage , 22, (7), 1053-1060

Objective To investigate the relevance of the human vertebral endplate poromechanics on the fluid and metabolic transport from and to the intervertebral disc (IVD) based on educated estimations of the poromechanical parameter values of the bony endplate (BEP). Methods 50 micro-models of different BEP samples were generated from μCTs of lumbar vertebrae and allowed direct determination of porosity values. Permeability values were calculated by using the micro-models, through the simulation of permeation via computational fluid dynamics. These educated ranges of porosity and permeability values were used as inputs for mechano-transport simulations to assess their effect on both the distributions of metabolites within an IVD model and the poromechanical calculations within the cartilaginous part of the endplate i.e., the cartilage endplate (CEP). Results BEP effective permeability was highly correlated to local variations of porosity (R2 ≈ 0.88). Universal patterns between bone volume fraction and permeability arose from these results and from other experimental data in the literature. These variations in BEP permeability and porosity had negligible effects on the distributions of metabolites within the disc. In the CEP, the variability of the poromechanical properties of the BEP did not affect the predicted consolidation but induced higher fluid velocities. Conclusions The present paper provides the first sets of thoroughly identified BEP parameter values that can be further used in patient-specific poromechanical studies. Representing BEP structural changes through variations in poromechanical properties did not affect the diffusion of metabolites. However, attention might be paid to alterations in fluid velocities and cell mechano-sensing within the CEP.

JTD Keywords: Bony endplate, Spine mechanobiology, Intervertebral disc metabolites, Hydraulic Permeability, Bone Porosity, Poromechanics


Montufar, Edgar B., Traykova, Tania, Planell, Josep A., Ginebra, Maria-Pau, (2011). Comparison of a low molecular weight and a macromolecular surfactant as foaming agents for injectable self setting hydroxyapatite foams: Polysorbate 80 versus gelatine Materials Science and Engineering: C 31, (7), 1498-1504

Hydroxyapatite foams are potential synthetic bone grafting materials or scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. A novel method to obtain injectable hydroxyapatite foams consists in foaming the liquid phase of a calcium phosphate cement. In this process, the cement powder is incorporated into a liquid foam, which acts as a template for macroporosity. After setting, the cement hardens maintaining the macroporous structure of the foam. In this study a low molecular weight surfactant, Polysorbate 80, and a protein, gelatine, were compared as foaming agents of a calcium phosphate cement. The foamability of Polysorbate 80 was greater than that of gelatine, resulting in higher macroporosity in the set hydroxyapatite foam and higher macropore interconnectivity. Gelatine produced less interconnected foams, especially at high concentrations, due to a higher liquid foam stability. However it increased the injectability and cohesion of the foamed paste, and enhanced osteoblastic-like cell adhesion, all of them important properties for bone grafting materials.

JTD Keywords: Hydroxyapatite, Porosity, Calcium phosphate cement, Scaffolds, Foaming, Bone regeneration


Charles-Harris, M., Koch, M. A., Navarro, M., Lacroix, D., Engel, E., Planell, J. A., (2008). A PLA/calcium phosphate degradable composite material for bone tissue engineering: an in vitro study Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Medicine , 19, (4), 1503-1513

Biodegradable polymers reinforced with an inorganic phase such as calcium phosphate glasses may be a promising approach to fulfil the challenging requirements presented by 3D porous scaffolds for tissue engineering. Scaffolds' success depends mainly on their biological behaviour. This work is aimed to the in vitro study of polylactic acid (PLA)/CaP glass 3D porous constructs for bone regeneration. The scaffolds were elaborated using two different techniques, namely solvent-casting and phase-separation. The effect of scaffolds' micro and macrostructure on the biological response of these scaffolds was assayed. Cell proliferation, differentiation and morphology within the scaffolds were studied. Furthermore, polymer/glass scaffolds were seeded under dynamic conditions in a custom-made perfusion bioreactor. Results indicate that the final architecture of the solvent-cast or phase separated scaffolds have a significant effect on cells' behaviour. Solvent-cast scaffolds seem to be the best candidates for bone tissue engineering. Besides, dynamic seeding yielded a higher seeding efficiency in comparison with the static method.

JTD Keywords: Biocompatible Materials/ chemistry, Bone and Bones/ metabolism, Calcium Phosphates/ chemistry, Cell Differentiation, Cell Proliferation, Humans, Lactic Acid/ chemistry, Microscopy, Confocal, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Osteoblasts/metabolism, Permeability, Polymers/ chemistry, Porosity, Solvents/chemistry, Tissue Engineering/ methods


Koch, M. A., Engel, E., Planell, J. A., Lacroix, D., (2008). Cell seeding and characterisation of PLA/glass composite scaffolds for bone tissue engineering Journal of Biomechanics 16th Congress, European Society of Biomechanics , Elsevier (Lucerne, Switzerland) 41, (Supplement 1), S162

In this study polymer-glass composite scaffolds were characterized by permeability and porosity, two important properties for the use in perfusion bioreactors. These scaffolds were seeded with osteoblast-like cells to assess the efficiency of the used bioreactor. The used PLA/glass composite scaffolds are adequate for the perfusion culture. The high porosity and pore interconnectivity allow an even cell distribution and incorporation of a high cell number. For optimisation of the perfusion bioreactor system, further research has to be dedicated to the cell seeding and culture.

JTD Keywords: Biomedical materials, Bioreactors, Bone, Cellular biophysics, Composite materials, Orthopaedics, Permeability, Polymers, Porosity, Porous materials, Tissue engineering