Authors: H. Liu and T.J. Webster
Affilation: Brown University, United States
Pages: 696 - 698
Keywords: nanocomposite, ceramics, polymers, orthopedics, 3D fabrication, rapid prototyping
Ceramic/polymer nanocomposites simulate bone in terms of its nanostructure and associated properties, thus, offering a promising new opportunity for bone regeneration in a natural way. Previous in vitro studies demonstrated that well-dispersed nanophase titania in PLGA (polylactide-co-glycolide) composites promoted bone cell adhesion and long-term functions (such as alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium-containing mineral deposition). However, to date, relatively few advantages of nanocomposites have been incorporated into the orthopedic clinical arena due to challenges integrating nano-scale structures or components into macro architectures while preserving their nano-features. Therefore, this study focused on further mimicking bone by building three-dimensional structures from ceramic/polymer nanocomposites using a novel aerosol based 3D printing technique because, similarly, natural bone assembles its 3D hierarchical architecture from nanostructured building blocks. The 3D printed nanophase titania/PLGA composites demonstrated well-ordered 3D structures and the surfaces of such nanocomposite scaffolds demonstrated uniform dispersion of titania nanoparticles after 3D printing. In vitro osteoblast (bone-forming cell) testing results provided the first evidence that these 3D scaffolds further promoted cell infiltration into porous structures compared to previous nanostructured surfaces. In conclusion, so far, these results have evaluated a promising new orthopedic nanocomposite and a means of fabricating a macro structure from such nanomaterials for more effective orthopedic applications.