This work aims to report the preparation, physico-chemical characterization, antibacterial activity, and biocompatibility testing of novel Ag-containing ZnO–Li2O–B2O3–HA composites, which are intended to be applied in bone tissue regenerative applications.
Silver oxide (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 mol%) doped ZnO–Li2O–B2O3 (Ag2O–ZLB) glasses were prepared by conventional quenching techniques. The newly developed glasses were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman and Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy, and Scanning electron microscopy. Furthermore, glass-ceramic composites (Ag2O–ZnLB–HA composites) were obtained by the mixture of 2.5 wt% of each silver glass with 97.5 wt% of hydroxyapatite, and thoroughly characterized. The initial bacteria adhesion was evaluated using Escherichia coli, whereas the biocompatibility profile of these materials was assessed following the establishment of MG63 osteoblast-like cell cultures, for 7 days. All the assayed compositions revealed a significant antibacterial activity against E. coli, at early culture time points. Moreover, osteoblastic cells revealed an adequate adhesion to all the assayed Ag2O–ZnLB–HA compositions and following, an active proliferation was established over seeded materials, throughout the culture period. No signs of cytotoxicity were attained by the assessment of cell morphology, viability, and proliferation. Furthermore, the composites containing a higher amount of silver (2 Ag2O–ZnLB–HA and 4 Ag2O–ZnLB–HA) allowed an increased cell proliferation, in comparison with control.