Fabrication of Poly(ε-caprolactone) Scaffolds Reinforced with Cellulose Nanofibers, with and without the Addition of Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles
In the present study, poly(ε-caprolactone)-coated hydroxyapatite scaffold derived from cuttlefish bone was prepared. Hydrothermal transformation of aragonitic cuttlefish bone into hydroxyapatite (HAp) was performed at 200°C retaining the cuttlebone architecture. The HAp scaffold was coated with a poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) using vacuum impregnation technique. The compositional and morphological properties of HAp and PCL-coated HAp scaffolds were studied by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis. Bioactivity was tested by immersion in Hank's balanced salt solution (HBSS) and mechanical tests were performed at compression. The results showed that PCL-coated HAp (HAp/PCL) scaffold resulted in a material with improved mechanical properties that keep the original interconnected porous structure indispensable for tissue growth and vascularization. The compressive strength (0.88MPa) and the elastic modulus (15.5MPa) are within the lower range of properties reported for human trabecular bones. The in vitro mineralization of calcium phosphate (CP) that produces the bone-like apatite was observed on both the pure HAp scaffold and the HAp/PCL composite scaffold. The prepared bioactive scaffold with enhanced mechanical properties is a good candidate for bone tissue engineering applications.