Scaffolds with a standardized macro-architecture fabricated from several calcium phosphate ceramics using an indirect rapid prototyping technique
This investigation describes the production and characterization of calcium phosphate scaffolds with defined and reproducible porous macro-architectures and their preliminary in vitro and in vivo bone-tissue-engineered response. Fugitive wax molds were designed and produced using a rapid prototyping technique. An aqueous hydroxyapatite slurry was cast in these molds. After sintering at 1250 degrees C and then cleaning, dimensional and material characterizations of the scaffolds were performed. The resulting scaffolds represented the design, and their dimensions were remarkably consistent. A texture inherent to the layer-by-layer production of the mold was impressed onto the vertical surfaces of the scaffolds. The surface roughness (R(a)) of the textured surfaces was significantly greater than that of the nontextured surfaces. Material analyses revealed a beta-TCP phase in addition to hydroxyapatite for the molded ceramics. Non-molded control ceramics exhibited only hydroxyapatite. Thirty scaffolds were seeded with culture-expanded goat bone-marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and implanted subcutaneously in nude mice for 4 or 6 weeks. Histology revealed mineralized bone formation in all the scaffolds for both implantation periods. After 4 weeks, bone was present primarily as a layer on scaffold surfaces. After 6 weeks, the surface bone formation was accompanied by bone budding from the surface and occasional bridging of pores. This budding and bridging bone formation almost always was associated with textured scaffold surfaces. However, the area percentage of bone in pores was similar for the 4- and 6-week implantation periods.