J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2022 Dec 31;34(1):2. doi: 10.1007/s10856-022-06710-2.
Carbonate apatite (CO3Ap) granules are useful as a bone substitute because they can be remodeled to new natural bone in a manner that conforms to the bone remodeling process. However, reconstructing large bone defects using CO3Ap granules is difficult because of their granular shape. Therefore, we fabricated CO3Ap honeycomb blocks (HCBs) with continuous unidirectional pores. We aimed to elucidate the tissue response and availability of CO3Ap HCBs in the reconstruction of rabbit mandibular bone defects after marginal mandibulectomy. The percentages of the remaining CO3Ap area and calcified bone area (newly formed bone) were estimated from the histological images. CO3Ap area was 49.1 ± 4.9%, 30.3 ± 3.5%, and 25.5 ± 8.8%, whereas newly formed bone area was 3.0 ± 0.6%, 24.3 ± 3.3%, and 34.7 ± 4.8% at 4, 8, and 12 weeks, respectively, after implantation. Thus, CO3Ap HCBs were gradually resorbed and replaced by new bone. The newly formed bone penetrated most of the pores in the CO3Ap HCBs at 12 weeks after implantation. By contrast, the granulation tissue scarcely invaded the CO3Ap HCBs. Some osteoclasts invaded the wall of CO3Ap HCBs, making resorption pits. Furthermore, many osteoblasts were found on the newly formed bone, indicating ongoing bone remodeling. Blood vessels were also formed inside most of the pores in the CO3Ap HCBs. These findings suggest that CO3Ap HCBs have good osteoconductivity and can be used for the reconstruction of large mandibular bone defects. The CO3Ap HCB were gradually resorbed and replaced by newly formed bone.