Three-dimensional printing of strontium-containing mesoporous bioactive glass scaffolds for bone regeneration

In this study, we fabricated strontium-containing mesoporous bioactive glass (Sr-MBG) scaffolds with controlled architecture and enhanced mechanical strength using a three-dimensional (3-D) printing technique. The study showed that Sr-MBG scaffolds had uniform interconnected macropores and high porosity, and their compressive strength was ∼170 times that of polyurethane foam templated MBG scaffolds. The physicochemical and biological properties of Sr-MBG scaffolds were evaluated by ion dissolution, apatite-forming ability and proliferation, alkaline phosphatase activity, osteogenic expression and extracelluar matrix mineralization of osteoblast-like cells MC3T3-E1. The results showed that Sr-MBG scaffolds exhibited a slower ion dissolution rate and more significant potential to stabilize the pH environment with increasing Sr substitution. Importantly, Sr-MBG scaffolds possessed good apatite-forming ability, and stimulated osteoblast cells’ proliferation and differentiation. Using dexamethasone as a model drug, Sr-MBG scaffolds also showed a sustained drug delivery property for use in local drug delivery therapy, due to their mesoporous structure. Therefore, the 3-D printed Sr-MBG scaffolds combined the advantages of Sr-MBG such as good bone-forming bioactivity, controlled ion release and drug delivery and enhanced mechanical strength, and had potential application in bone regeneration.