In Vivo Regenerative Properties of Coralline-Derived (Biocoral) Scaffold Grafts in Human Maxillary Defects: Demonstrative and Comparative Study with Beta-Tricalcium Phosphate and Biphasic Calcium Phosphate by Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Microtomography




In recent years, there has been interest on the fabrication of systems using particulates or block-based approach for bone tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds, possessing porous interconnected structures. In fact, these particular morphologies greatly increase the surface area for more chemical and biological reactions to take place.


This study was designed to demonstrate the unique capability of the synchrotron radiation x-ray microtomography (micro-CT) in offering an advanced characterization of coralline-derived (Biocoral) biomaterials placed in human maxillary defects as it allows, in a nondestructive way, a complete, precise, and high-resolution three-dimensional analysis of their microstructural parameters. Moreover, the comparison between Biocoral and other biomaterials was explored to understand the mechanism of their biological behavior as bone substitute.

Materials and Methods

Implant survival, bone regeneration, graft resorption, neovascularization, and morphometric parameters (including anisotropy and connectivity index of the structures) were evaluated by micro-CT in Biocoral and the other biomaterials after 6 to 7 months from implantation in human maxillary bone defects.


After the in vivo tests, a huge amount of bone was detected in the retrieved Biocoral-based samples, coupled with a good rate of biomaterial resorption and the formation of a homogeneous and rich net of new vessels. The morphometric parameters were comparable to those obtained in the biphasic calcium phosphate-based control, with the exception of the connectivity index for which this control exhibited the most well-connected structure. This last result, together with those referred to the poor performances of the β-tricalcium phosphate block-based sample, suggests that the particular scaffold morphology may play a role in the hunt the optimal scaffold structure to be implanted.


In this limited study, implant success rate seems not strictly dependent on the biomaterial that is used, but on the scaffold morphology. Micro-CT technique was demonstrated to play a fundamental role in advanced characterization of bone TE constructs.