One of the major challenges in orthopedics is to develop implants that overcome currentpostoperative problems such as osteointegration, proper load bearing, and stress shielding. Current implant techniques such as allografts or endoprostheses never reach full bone integration, and the risk of fracture dueto stress shielding is a major concern. To overcome this, a novel technique of reverse engineering to createartificial scaffolds was designed and tested.
The purpose of the study is to create a new generation of implants that are both biocompatible and biomimetic. 3D-printed scaffolds based on physiological trabecular bone patterning were printed. MC3T3 cells were cultured on these scaffolds in osteogenic media, with and without the addition of Calcitonin ReceptorFragment Peptide (CRFP) in order to assess bone formation on the surfaces of the scaffolds. Integrity of thesecell-seeded bone-coated scaffolds was tested for their mechanical strength.The results show that cellular proliferation and bone matrix formation are both supported by our3D-printed scaffolds.
The mechanical strength of thescaffolds was enhanced by trabecular patterning in theorder of 20% for compression strength and 60% for compressive modulus. Furthermore, cell-seeded trabecularscaffolds modulus increased fourfold when treated with CRFP.
Upon mineralization, the cell-seeded trabecular implants treated with osteo-inductive agents andpretreated with CRFP showed a significant increase in the compressive modulus. This work will lead tocreating 3D structures that can be used in the replacement of not only bone segments, but entire bones.