Teixeira, S. ; Yang, L. ; Dijkstra, P.J. ; Ferraz, M.P. ; Monteiro, F.J.
Journal of materials science-materials in medicine 21(8), 2385-2392
Currently, in bone tissue engineering research, the development of appropriate biomaterials for the regeneration of bony tissues is a major concern. Bone tissue is composed of a structural protein, collagen type I, on which calcium phosphate crystals are enclosed. For tissue engineering, one of the most applied strategies consists on the development and application of three dimensional porous scaffolds with similar composition to the bone. In this way, they can provide a physical support for cell attachment, proliferation, nutrient transport and new bone tissue infiltration. Hydroxyapatite is a calcium phosphate with a similar composition of bone and widely applied in several medical/dentistry fields. Therefore, in this study, hydroxyapatite three dimensional porous scaffolds were produced using the polymer replication method. Next, the porous scaffolds were homogeneously coated with a film of collagen type I by applying vacuum force. Yet, due to collagen degradability properties, it was necessary to perform an adequate crosslinking method. As a result, N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N'-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) was employed as an efficient and non-toxic crosslinking method in this research. The composites were characterized by means of SEM, DSC and TNBS. Furthermore, heparin was incorporated in order to accomplish sustained delivery of a growth factor of interest namely, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP-2). BMP-2 binding and release of non-heparinized and heparinized scaffolds was evaluated at specific time points. The incorporation of heparin leads to a reduced initial burst phase when compared to the non heparinized materials. The results show a beneficial effect with the incorporation of heparin and its potential as a localized drug delivery system for the sustained release of growth factors.