PLoS One. 2022 Aug 8;17(8):e0272283. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272283. eCollection 2022.
Lithography based additive manufacturing techniques, specifically digital light processing (DLP), are considered innovative manufacturing techniques for orthopaedic implants because of their potential for construction of complex geometries using polymers, metals, and ceramics. Hydroxyapatite (HA) coupons, printed using DLP, were evaluated for biological performance in supporting viability, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation of the human cell line U2OS and human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) up to 35 days in culture to determine feasibility for future use in development of complex scaffold geometries. Contact angle, profilometry, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements showed the HA coupons to be hydrophilic, porous, and having micro size surface roughness, all within favourable cell culture ranges. The study found no impact of leachable and extractables form the DLP printing process. Cells seeded on coupons exhibited morphologies comparable to conventional tissue culture polystyrene plates. Cell proliferation rates, as determined by direct cell count and the RealTime-GloTM MT Cell Viability Assay, were similar on HA coupons and standard tissue culture polystyrene plates). Osteogenic differentiation of human MSCs on HA coupons was confirmed using alkaline phosphatase, Alizarin Red S and von Kossa staining. The morphology of MSCs cultured in osteogenic medium for 14 to 35 days was similar on HA coupons and tissue culture polystyrene plates, with osteogenic (geometric, cuboidal morphology with dark nodules) and adipogenic (lipid vesicles and deposits) features. We conclude that the DLP process and LithaBone HA400 slurry are biocompatible and are suitable for osteogenic applications. Coupons served as an effective evaluation design in the characterization and visualization of cell responses on DLP printed HA material. Results support the feasibility of future technical development for 3D printing of sophisticated scaffold designs, which can be constructed to meet the mechanical, chemical, and porosity requirements of an artificial bone scaffold.