Although the channel architecture of a scaffold is critical for bone regeneration, little is known for the channel direction. In this study, four types of carbonate apatite cylindrical scaffolds; scaffolds with biaxial channels (VH-scaffold), with uniaxial vertical channels (V-scaffold), with uniaxial horizontal channels (H-scaffold), and without channels (N-scaffold), were implanted in a rabbit femur defect for 4 and 12 weeks. Although the largest bone was formed 4 weeks post-implantation in the VH-scaffold, newly formed bone disappeared with the scaffold after 12 weeks. Thus, biaxial channels resulted in the rapid dissolution of the scaffold and were counterproductive in long-term bone regeneration. The V-scaffold that had channels connected to the periosteum was gradually resorbed throughout 12 weeks post-implantation. The percentage of mineralized bone in the V-scaffolds was equal to that in the natural bone. The resorption and bone percentage of H-scaffolds that had no channels connected to the periosteum were slower and lower, respectively, than those of V-scaffolds. Thus, channels should be connected to the periosteum to achieve smooth replacement by the new bone. In the N-scaffold, much less bone was formed inside the scaffold. This study contributes to providing a design guide for scaffold development in bone engineering.
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