Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel bone substitute material fabricated using a biodegradable polymer-calcium phosphate nanoparticle composite. Methods: Porous structured poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) and hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticle composite, which was fabricated using solid-liquid phase separation and freeze-drying methods, was grafted into bone defects created in rat calvarium or tibia. Rats were killed 4 weeks after surgery, and histological analyses were performed to evaluate new bone formation. Results: Scanning electron microscopic observation showed the interconnecting pores within the material and the pore diameter was approximately 100 to 300 m. HA nanoparticles were observed to be embedded into the PLLA beams. In the calvarial implantation model, abundant blood vessels and fibroblastic cells were observed penetrating into pores, and in the tibia model, newly formed bone was present around and within the composite. Conclusions: The PLLA-HA nanoparticle composite bone substitute developed in this study showed biocompatibility, elasticity, and operability and thus has potential as a novel bone substitute.
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