Surface-enrichment with hydroxyapatite nanoparticles in stereolithography-fabricated composite polymer scaffolds promotes bone repair

O. Guillaume, M.A. Geven, C.M. Sprecher, V.A. Stadelmann, D.W. Grijpma, T.T. Tang, L. Qin, Y. Lai, M. Alini, J.D. de Bruijn, H. Yuan, R.G. Richards, D. Eglin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)
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Fabrication of composite scaffolds using stereolithography (SLA) for bone tissue engineering has shown great promises. However, in order to trigger effective bone formation and implant integration, exogenous growth factors are commonly combined to scaffold materials. In this study, we fabricated biodegradable composite scaffolds using SLA and endowed them with osteopromotive properties in the absence of biologics. First we prepared photo-crosslinkable poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC) resins containing 20 and 40 wt% of hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles and fabricated scaffolds with controlled macro-architecture. Then, we conducted experiments to investigate how the incorporation of HA in photo-crosslinked PTMC matrices improved human bone marrow stem cells osteogenic differentiation in vitro and kinetic of bone healing in vivo. We observed that bone regeneration was significantly improved using composite scaffolds containing as low as 20 wt% of HA, along with difference in terms of osteogenesis and degree of implant osseointegration. Further investigations revealed that SLA process was responsible for the formation of a rich microscale layer of HA corralling scaffolds. To summarize, this work is of substantial importance as it shows how the fabrication of hierarchical biomaterials via surface-enrichment of functional HA nanoparticles in composite polymer stereolithographic structures could impact in vitro and in vivo osteogenesis. Statement of Significance This study reports for the first time the enhance osteopromotion of composite biomaterials, with controlled macro-architecture and microscale distribution of hydroxyapatite particles, manufactured by stereolithography. In this process, the hydroxyapatite particles are not only embedded into an erodible polymer matrix, as reported so far in the literature, but concentrated at the surface of the structures. This leads to robust in vivo bone formation at low concentration of hydroxyapatite. The reported 3D self-corralling composite architecture provides significant opportunities to develop functional biomaterials for bone repair and tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-398
Number of pages13
JournalActa biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Bone regeneration
  • Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles
  • Osteoconductive scaffold
  • Poly(trimethylene carbonate)
  • Stereolithography
  • Surface-enrichment
  • 2023 OA procedure


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