Mesoporous bioactive scaffolds prepared with cerium-, gallium- and zinc-containing glasses

Mesoporous bioactive glass scaffolds (MBG_Scs), based on 80% SiO2–15% CaO–5% P2O5 (in mol.%) mesoporous sol–gel glasses substituted with Ce2O3, Ga2O3 (both 0.2% or 1.0%) and ZnO (0.4% or 2.0%), were synthesized by combination of evaporation-induced self-assembly and rapid prototyping techniques. Cerium, gallium and zinc trace elements were selected because of their inherent beneficial biological properties. Fabricated scaffolds were characterized and compared with unsubstituted scaffold (B_Sc). All of them contained well interconnected ultralarge pores (pores >400 μm) ideal for vascular ingrowth and proliferation of cells. Macropores of size 100–400 μm were present inside the scaffolds. In addition, low-angle X-ray diffraction showed that B_Sc and scaffolds with substituent contents up to 0.4% exhibited ordered mesoporosity useful for hosting molecules with biological activity. The textural properties of B_Sc were a surface area of 398 m2 g−1, a pore diameter of 4.3 nm and a pore volume of 0.43 cm3 g−1. A slight decrease in surface area and pore volume was observed upon substitution with no distinct effect on pore diameter. In addition, all the MBG_Scs except 2.0% ZnO_Sc showed quite quick in vitro bioactive response. Hence, the present study is a positive addition to ongoing research into preparing bone tissue engineering scaffolds from bioceramics containing elements of therapeutic significance.