Evaluation of the capacity of mosaic-like porous ceramics with designed pores to support osteoconduction



Under osteoconductive conditions, porous calcium phosphate ceramics are known to induce new bone formation within their pores. A critical aspect of the design of porous ceramics is the geometrical features of their pores, with regard to promoting bone formation and mass transfer management in pore networks. However, the pore geometries of common porous ceramics lack clear details. Further, the connections between pores are hard to characterize and thus have not been thoroughly researched. To address these issues, we have developed an original method for fabricating porous ceramics, which we have termed “mosaic-like ceramics fabrication (MLCF).” Using MLCF, pore geometries can be designed and fabricated by each unit, and a network covering all the pores can be fabricated. Furthermore, MLCF can be used to build porous ceramics with custom-made shapes. In this study, we assessed the osteogenic influences of MLCF products (MLPC) composed of hydroxyapatite units on the differentiation of rat bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in vitro and in vivo. Two types of commercial porous artificial bone were used as positive controls. MLPC was superior in osteogenic potential, and proved to be a reliable scaffold for bone tissue engineering. Furthermore, this study succeeded in defining the important geometries for osteoconduction. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 101A: 3571–3579, 2013.