Collagen, polycaprolactone and attapulgite composite scaffolds for in vivo bone repair in rabbit models.Biomed Mater. 2020 Jul 01; 15(4):045022.BM
Although numerous materials have been explored as bone scaffolds, many of them are limited by their low osteoconductivity and high biodegradability. Therefore, new materials are desired to induce bone cell proliferation and facilitate bone formation. Attapulgite (ATP) is a hydrated silicate that exists in nature as a fibrillar clay mineral and is well known for its large specific surface area, high viscosity, and high absorption capacity, and therefore has the potential to be a new type of bone repair material due to its unique physicochemical properties. In this study, composite scaffolds composed of collagen/polycaprolactone/attapulgite (CPA) or collagen/polycaprolactone (CP) were fabricated through a salt-leaching method. The morphology, composition, microstructure, physical, and mechanical characteristics of the CPA and CP scaffolds were assessed. Cells from the mouse multipotent mesenchymal precursor cell line (D1 cells) were cocultured with the scaffolds, and cell adhesion, proliferation, and gene expression on the CPA and CP scaffolds were analyzed. Adult rabbits with radius defects were used to evaluate the performance of these scaffolds in repairing bone defects over 4-12 weeks. The experimental results showed that the cells demonstrated excellent attachment ability on the CPA scaffolds, as well as remarkable upregulation of the levels of osteoblastic markers such as Runx2, Osterix, collagen 1, osteopontin, and osteocalcin. Furthermore, results from radiography, micro-computed tomography, histological and immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that abundant new bones were formed on the CPA scaffolds. Ultimately, these results demonstrated that CPA composite scaffolds show excellent potential in bone tissue engineering applications, with the capacity to be used as effective bone regeneration and repair scaffolds in clinical applications.