Preparation and characterization of polycaprolactone/forsterite nanocomposite porous scaffolds designed for bone tissue regeneration
Biocomposite scaffolds made from polymers and bioceramics can provide the mechanical structure necessary for osteoinductivity in the growth of new bone. The aim of this research was to investigate the properties of a novel nanocomposite scaffold made from a combination of polycaprolactone (PCL) and forsterite nanopowder which could find use in bone tissue engineering applications. The scaffold itself was fabricated by a method of solvent casting and particle leaching. The effect of forsterite content on the mechanical properties, bioactivity, biodegradability, and cytotoxicity of the scaffolds was investigated. Significant improvement in the mechanical properties was observed in the nanocomposite scaffolds as compared to that seen in the pure PCL scaffolds. Bioactivity was also observed in the nanocomposite scaffolds, a trait which was not present in the pure PCL scaffolds. Biodegradation assay indicated that the addition of forsterite nanopowder could modulate the degradation rate of PCL. In vitro tests of cytotoxicity and osteoblast proliferation showed that the nanocomposite scaffolds were non-cytotoxic, thereby allowing cells to adhere, grow, and proliferate on the surface of these scaffolds. The results obtained in this experiment suggest that the combination of PCL with forsterite nanopowder can be used to form scaffolds suitable for use in bone tissue engineering. The exact material behavior required can be adjusted through variation of the ratio between PCL and forsterite nanopowder used to form the scaffold.