Additive manufacturing of scaffolds with dexamethasone controlled release for enhanced bone regeneration

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The adoption of additive manufacturing in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) strategies greatly relies on the development of novel 3D printable materials with advanced properties. In this work we have developed a material for bone TERM applications with tunable bioerosion rate and dexamethasone release profile which can be further employed in fused deposition modelling (the most common and accessible 3D printing technology in the market). The developed material consisted of a blend of poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) and poloxamine (Tetronic®) and was processed into a ready-to-use filament form by means of a simplified melt-based methodology, therefore eliminating the utilization of solvents. 3D scaffolds composed of various blend formulations were additively manufactured and analyzed revealing blend ratio-specific degradation rates and dexamethasone release profiles. Furthermore, in vitro culture studies revealed a similar blend ratio-specific trend concerning the osteoinductive activity of the fabricated scaffolds when these were seeded and cultured with human mesenchymal stem cells. The developed material enables to specifically address different regenerative requirements found in various tissue defects. The versatility of such strategy is further increased by the ability of additive manufacturing to accurately fabricate implants matching any given defect geometry.

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