As of 2010, 5.3 million orthopedic surgeries are performed each year, and this number is expected to increase to 6.2 million by 2020. On average, 27.7% of all orthopedic surgeries result in infection which often leads to osteomyelitis and the loss of supporting bone. In this study, we describe two synthetic bone grafts, or augmentation methods, for a biodegradable, silver nanoparticle (SNPs) containing antimicrobial scaffolds composed of pentaerythritol triacrylate-co-trimethylolpropane tris (3-mercaptopropionate) (PETA) and hydroxyapatite (HA). This osteoinductive and degradable material is designed to stimulate proliferation of bone progenitor cells, and provide controlled release of antimicrobial components. The first method, denoted as the “incorporating method,” involves dissolving SNPs in ethanol, butanol, or isopropanol and directly incorporating the particles into the scaffold prior to polymerization. The second method, “coating method,” involves submerging fabricated scaffolds into their respective SNPs-solution and mixing for 24 h. The coating method allowed better distribution and release of SNPs from the surface of the composites when exposed to extracellular media. The in vitro release of silver for both methods was quantified by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). The scaffolds made by means of the coating method showed increased release of silver with respect to time; no silver leached from the scaffolds formed by the incorporating method. Use of Alamar Blue assay demonstrated that the SNPs incorporation did not affect cell viability when tested with hASCs. The scaffolds formed by the coating method inhibited the proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus 99.5% and Escherichia coli by 99.9% within 24 h. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41099.
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