Polylactic acid-phosphate glass composite foams as scaffolds for tissue engineering
Phosphate glass (PG) of the composition 0.46(CaO)-0.04(Na(2)O)- 0.5(P(2)O(5)) was used as filler in poly-L-lactic acid (PLA) foams developed as degradable scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. The effect of PG on PLA was assessed both in bulk and porous composite foams. Composites with various PG content (0, 5, 10, and 20 wt %) were melt-extruded, and either compression-molded or foamed through supercritical CO(2). Dynamic mechanical analysis on the bulk composites showed that incorporating 20 wt % PG resulted in a significant increase in storage modulus. Aging studies in deionized water in terms of weight loss, pH change, and ion release inferred that the degradation was due to PG dissolution, and dependent on the amount of glass in the composites. Foaming was only possible for composites containing 5 and 10 wt % PG, as an increase in PG increased the foam densities; however, the level of porosity was maintained above 75%. PLA-T(g) in the foams was higher than those obtained for the bulk. Compressive moduli showed no significant reinforcement with glass incorporation in either expansion direction, indicating no anisotropy. Biocompatibility showed that proliferation of human fetal bone cells was more rapid for PLA compared to PLA-PG foams. However, the proliferation rate of PLA-PG foams were similar to those obtained for foams of PLA with either hydroxyapatite or beta-tricalcium phosphate.