Biomater Adv. 2022 May;136:212766. doi: 10.1016/j.bioadv.2022.212766. Epub 2022 Mar 25.
The adaptive foam reticulation technique combines the foam reticulation and freeze casting methodologies of fabricating bone reparative scaffolds to offer a potential alternative to autografts. For the first time this paper studies the effect of processing on the mechanical properties and in-vitro cell growth of controllably generating a hierarchical structure of macro- (94 ± 6 to 514 ± 36 μm) and microporosity (2-30 μm) by the inclusion of camphene as a porogen during processing. Scaffolds were produced with porogen additions of 0-25 wt%. Porosity values of the structures of 85-96% were determined using the Archimedes technique and verified using X-ray Computed Tomography. The strength of the hydroxyapatite scaffolds, 5.70 ± 1.0 to 159 ± 61 kPa, correlated to theoretically determined values, 3.71 ± 0.8 to 134 ± 12 kPa, calculated by the novel incorporation of a shape factor into a standard equation. Fibroblast (3T3) and pre-osteoblast (MC3T3) cell growth was found to be significantly (P < 0.005) improved using 25 wt% porogen. This was supported by increased levels of alkaline phosphatase and was thought to result from greater dissolution as quantified by increased calcium levels in incubating media. The combination of these properties renders adaptive foam reticulation-fabricated scaffolds suitable for non-structural bone regenerative applications in non-load bearing bone defects.