Apatite-forming ability of polyglutamic acid hydrogels in a body-simulating environment
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Artificial joints can replace damaged joints provided the surrounding bone is sufficiently dense. However, elderly patients generally have reduced osteoporosis-associated bone density. Therefore, restitution of bone density is essential to ensure implantation. Injectable and resorbable bioactive fillers with bone-bonding ability (osteoconductivity) are promising, as osteoporosis can be reversed with minimal invasion. Osteoconduction occurs through the surface formation of biologically active hydroxyapatite via reactions with body fluids. Heterogeneous nucleation of the hydroxyapatite is catalysed by specific surface functional groups. In addition, release of Ca2+ ions into the surrounding fluids enhances apatite nucleation by increasing its degree of supersaturation. We tested injectable bioactive filler made from cross-linked polyglutamic acid (PGA). This has many carboxyl groups that facilitate apatite nucleation. An insoluble hydrogel can be formed by cross-linkage. We exposed PGA gels to a simulated body fluid for 7 days. Trace amounts of calcium phosphate were formed, but were not identified as bone-like apatite by X-ray diffraction. However, formation of a bone-like apatite layer was detected using pre-treatment with CaCl2 solutions (>0.01 mol dm−3) dose dependently. Thus, this chemically cross-linked PGA gel could induce the heterogeneous nucleation of hydroxyapatite in a body environment, and this was enhanced by pre-treatment with CaCl2.
KeywordsApatite Simulated Body Fluid CaCl2 Solution Amorphous Calcium Phosphate Bioactive Material
The authors greatly appreciate financial support for this study by Okayama Prefecture Industrial Promotion Foundation (Okayama Challenge Project). One of the authors (T. M.) also acknowledges the support by a Grant-in-Aid for Encouragement of Young Scientists ((B)16700365), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
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