With biomimetic biomaterials, like calcium phosphate cements (CPCs), non-invasive assessment of tissue regeneration is challenging. This study describes a theranostic agent (TA) to simultaneously enhance both imaging and osteogenic properties of such a bone substitute material. For this purpose, mesoporous silica beads were produced containing an iron oxide core to enhance bone magnetic resonance (MR) contrast. The same beads were functionalized with silane linkers to immobilize the osteoinductive protein BMP-2, and finally received a calcium phosphate coating, before being embedded in the CPC. Both in vitro and in vivo tests were performed. In vitro testing showed that the TA beads did not interfere with essential material properties like cement setting. Furthermore, bioactive BMP-2 could be efficiently released from the carrier-beads. In vivo testing in a femoral condyle defect rat model showed long-term MR contrast enhancement, as well as improved osteogenic capacity. Moreover, the TA was released during CPC degradation and was not incorporated into the newly formed bone. In conclusion, the described TA was shown to be suitable for longitudinal material degradation and bone healing studies.
|Publication status||Published - 14 Dec 2014|