Physico-Mechanical Properties of HA/TCP Pellets and Their Three-Dimensional Biological Evaluation In Vitro

  • Nurulain ‘Atikah Kamalaldin
  • Mariatti Jaafar
  • Saiful Irwan Zubairi
  • Badrul Hisham YahayaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1084)


The use of bioceramics, especially the combination of hydroxyapatite (HA) and β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP), as a three-dimensional scaffold in bone engineering is essential because together these elements constitute 60% of the bone content. Different ratios of HA and β-TCP were previously tested for their ability to produce suitable bioceramic scaffolds, which must be able to withstand high mechanical load. In this study, two ratios of HA/TCP (20:80 and 70:30) were used to create pellets, which then were evaluated in vitro to identify any adverse effects of using the material in bone grafting. Diametral tensile strength (DTS) and density testing was conducted to assess the mechanical strength and porosity of the pellets. The pellets then were tested for their toxicity to normal human fibroblast cells. In the toxicity assay, cells were incubated with the pellets for 3 days. At the end of the experiment, cell morphological changes were assessed, and the absorbance was read using PrestoBlue Cell Viability Reagent™. An inversely proportional relationship between DTS and porosity percentage was detected. Fibroblasts showed normal cell morphology in both treatments, which suggests that the HA/TCP pellets were not toxic. In the osteoblast cell attachment assay, cells were able to attach to the surface of both ratios, but cells were also able to penetrate inside the scaffold of the 70:30 pellets. This finding suggests that the 70:30 ratio had better osteoconduction properties than the 20:80 ratio.


Bioceramics HA/TCP 3D scaffold Bone substitution Cell evaluation Cell toxicity 





β-Tricalcium phosphate




Tricalcium phosphate


Alpha Minimum Essential Medium


Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium: Nutrient Mixture F-12


Phosphate buffered saline


Fetal bovine serum




Normal human fibroblast




American Type Culture Collection


Diametral tensile strength






Scanning electron microscopy


Field-emission scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy



The authors gratefully acknowledge assistance given by all staff of the Advanced Medical and Dental Institute and School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang. The authors also would like to express gratitude to USM for providing excellent facilities and the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia, for the Transdisciplinary Research Grant Scheme, 203/CIPPT/6761002, that funded this research.

Author Disclosure Statement

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nurulain ‘Atikah Kamalaldin
    • 1
  • Mariatti Jaafar
    • 2
  • Saiful Irwan Zubairi
    • 3
  • Badrul Hisham Yahaya
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Regenerative Medicine Cluster, Advanced Medical and Dental InstituteUniversiti Sains MalaysiaKepala BatasMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Materials & Mineral Resources EngineeringUniversiti Sains MalaysiaNibong TebalMalaysia
  3. 3.School of Chemical Sciences & Food Technology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaUKM BangiMalaysia

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