Investigating the Effects of Surface-Initiated Polymerization of ε-Caprolactone to Bioactive Glass Particles on the Mechanical Properties of Settable Polymer/Ceramic Composites.

Harmata AJ, Ward CL, Zienkiewicz KJ, Wenke JC, Guelcher SA
J Mater Res. 2014 29 (20): 2398-2407

PMID: 25798027 · PMCID: PMC4364443 · DOI:10.1557/jmr.2014.254

Injectable bone grafts with strength exceeding that of trabecular bone could improve the management of a number of orthopaedic conditions. Ceramic/polymer composites have been investigated as weight-bearing bone grafts, but they are typically weaker than trabecular bone due to poor interfacial bonding. We hypothesized that entrapment of surface-initiated poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) chains on 45S5 bioactive glass (BG) particles within an -formed polymer network would enhance the mechanical properties of reactive BG/polymer composites. When the surface-initiated PCL molecular weight exceeded the molecular weight between crosslinks of the network, the compressive strength of the composites increased 6- to 10-fold. The torsional strength of the composites exceeded that of human trabecular bone by a factor of two. When injected into femoral condyle defects in rats, the composites supported new bone formation at 8 weeks. The initial bone-like strength of BG/polymer composites and their ability to remodel highlight their potential for development as injectable grafts for repair of weight-bearing bone defects.

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