This review focuses on recent advances in the development and use of bioactive glass for tissue engineering applications. Despite its inherent brittleness, bioactive glass has several appealing characteristics as a scaffold material for bone tissue engineering. New bioactive glasses based on borate and borosilicate compositions have shown the ability to enhance new bone formation when compared to silicate bioactive glass. Borate-based bioactive glasses also have controllable degradation rates, so the degradation of the bioactive glass implant can be more closely matched to the rate of new bone formation. Bioactive glasses can be doped with trace quantities of elements such as Cu, Zn and Sr, which are known to be beneficial for healthy bone growth. In addition to the new bioactive glasses, recent advances in biomaterials processing have resulted in the creation of scaffold architectures with a range of mechanical properties suitable for the substitution of loaded as well as non-loaded bone. While bioactive glass has been extensively investigated for bone repair, there has been relatively little research on the application of bioactive glass to the repair of soft tissues. However, recent work has shown the ability of bioactive glass to promote angiogenesis, which is critical to numerous applications in tissue regeneration, such as neovascularization for bone regeneration and the healing of soft tissue wounds. Bioactive glass has also been shown to enhance neocartilage formation during in vitro culture of chondrocyte-seeded hydrogels, and to serve as a subchondral substrate for tissue-engineered osteochondral constructs. Methods used to manipulate the structure and performance of bioactive glass in these tissue engineering applications are analyzed.
Bioactive glasses with controllable conversion rates to hydroxyapatite (HA) may provide a novel class of scaffold materials for bone tissue engineering. The objective of the present work was to comprehensively characterize the conversion of a silicate bioactive glass (45S5), a borate glass, and two intermediate borosilicate glass compositions to HA in a dilute phosphate solution at 37 degrees Celsius. The borate glass and the borosilicate glasses were derived from the 45S5 glass by fully or partially replacing the SiO(2) with B(2)O(3). Higher B(2)O(3) content produced a more rapid conversion of the glass to HA and a lower pH value of the phosphate solution. Whereas the borate glass was fully converted to HA in less than 4 days, the silicate (45S5) and borosilicate compositions were only partially converted even after 70 days, and contained residual SiO(2) in a Na-depleted core. The concentration of Na(+) in the phosphate solution increased with reaction time whereas the PO(4) (3-) concentration decreased, both reaching final limiting values at a rate that increased with the B(2)O(3) content of the glass. However, the Ca(2+) concentration in the solution remained low, below the detection limit of atomic absorption, throughout the reaction. Immersion of the glasses in a mixed solution of K(2)HPO(4) and K(2)CO(3) produced a carbonate-substituted HA but the presence of the K(2)CO(3) had little effect on the kinetics of conversion to HA. The kinetics and mechanisms of the conversion process of the four glasses to HA are compared and used to develop a model for the process.
The repair and regeneration of large bone defects resulting from disease or trauma remains a significant clinical challenge. Bioactive glass has appealing characteristics as a scaffold material for bone tissue engineering, but the application of glass scaffolds for the repair of load-bearing bone defects is often limited by their low mechanical strength and fracture toughness. This paper provides an overview of recent developments in the fabrication and mechanical properties of bioactive glass scaffolds. The review reveals the fact that mechanical strength is not a real limiting factor in the use of bioactive glass scaffolds for bone repair, an observation not often recognized by most researchers and clinicians. Scaffolds with compressive strengths comparable to those of trabecular and cortical bones have been produced by a variety of methods. The current limitations of bioactive glass scaffolds include their low fracture toughness (low resistance to fracture) and limited mechanical reliability, which have so far received little attention. Future research directions should include the development of strong and tough bioactive glass scaffolds, and their evaluation in unloaded and load-bearing bone defects in animal models.
Bioactive glass scaffolds with a microstructure similar to that of dry human trabecular bone but with three different compositions were evaluated for potential applications in bone repair. The preparation of the scaffolds and the effect of the glass composition on the degradation and conversion of the scaffolds to a hydroxyapatite (HA)-type material in a simulated body fluid (SBF) are reported here (Part I). The in vitro response of osteogenic cells to the scaffolds and the in vivo evaluation of the scaffolds in a rat subcutaneous implantation model are described in Part II. Scaffolds (porosity = 78-82%; pore size = 100-500 microm) were prepared using a polymer foam replication technique. The glasses consisted of a silicate (13-93) composition, a borosilicate composition (designated 13-93B1), and a borate composition (13-93B3), in which one-third or all of the SiO2 content of 13-93 was replaced by B2O3, respectively. The conversion rate of the scaffolds to HA in the SBF increased markedly with the B2O3 content of the glass. Concurrently, the pH of the SBF also increased with the B2O3 content of the scaffolds. The compressive strengths of the as-prepared scaffolds (5-11 MPa) were in the upper range of values reported for trabecular bone, but they decreased markedly with immersion time in the SBF and with increasing B2O3 content of the glass. The results show that scaffolds with a wide range of bioactivity and degradation rate can be achieved by replacing varying amounts of SiO(2) in silicate bioactive glass with B2O3.
Silicate‐based bioactive glasses undergo incomplete conversion to a calcium phosphate material after in vivo implantation, which severely limits their biomedical application. In this communication, novel borate‐based glasses with controllable degradation behavior were developed and their bioactive potential was investigated in vitro. When immersed in a 0.02M K2HPO4 solution at 37°C, these glasses reacted to form a carbonate‐substituted hydroxyapatite (c‐HA) on their surfaces, indicating their bioactive potential. The conversion rate to c‐HA was controlled by adjusting the B2O3/SiO2 ratio in the glass composition. The results indicate the potential application of the borate‐based bioactive glass as scaffold materials for bone tissue engineering.
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