Three-dimensional printed strontium-containing mesoporous bioactive glass scaffolds for repairing rat critical-sized calvarial defects

The development of a new generation of biomaterials with high osteogenic ability for fast osseointegration with host bone is being intensively investigated. In this study, we have fabricated three-dimensional (3-D) strontium-containing mesoporous bioactive glass (Sr-MBG) scaffolds by a 3-D printing technique. Sr-MBG scaffolds showed uniform interconnected macropores (∼400 μm), high porosity (∼70%) and enhanced compressive strength (8.67 ± 1.74 MPa). Using MBG scaffolds as a control, the biological properties of Sr-MBG scaffolds were evaluated by apatite-forming ability, adhesion, proliferation, alkaline phosphatase activity and osteogenic gene expression of osteoblast-like cells MC3T3-E1. Furthermore, Sr-MBG scaffolds were used to repair critical-sized rat calvarial defects. The results showed that Sr-MBG scaffolds possessed good apatite-forming ability and stimulated MC3T3-E1 cell proliferation and differentiation. Importantly, the in vivo results revealed that Sr-MBG scaffolds had good osteogenic capability and stimulated new blood vessel formation in critical-sized rat calvarial defects within 8 weeks. Therefore, 3-D printed Sr-MBG scaffolds with favorable pore structure and high osteogenic ability have more potential applications in bone regeneration.