This study investigates quantitatively and qualitatively the sol–gel derived bioactive glass–ceramic system (BGS)-apatite–wollastonite (AW) type granules in the size range of 0.5–1 mm, as an effective graft material for bone augmentation and restoration. Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of the sintered granules revealed the rough material surface with micropores in the range 10–30 𝜇m. X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern of the granules revealed the presence of crystalline phases of the hydroxyapatite and wollastonite, and the functional groups of the silicate and phosphates were identified by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The in vitro cell culture studies with L929 mouse fibroblast cell line showed very few cells adhered on the BGS disc after 24 h. This could be due to the highly reactive surface of the disc concomitant with the crystallization but not due to the cytotoxicity of the material, since the cellular viability (MTT assay) with the material was 80%. Cytotoxicity and cytocompatibility studies proved that the material was non-toxic and biocompatible. After 12 weeks of implantation of the BGS granules in the tibia bone of New Zealand white rabbits, the granules were found to be well osteointegrated, as observed in the radiographs. Angiogram with barium sulphate and Indian ink after 12 weeks showed the presence of microcapillaries in the vicinity of the implant site implicating high vascularity. Gross observation of the implant site did not show any inflammation or necrosis. SEM of the implanted site after 24 weeks revealed good osteointegration of the material with the newly formed bone and host bone. New bone was also observed within the material, which was degrading. Histological evaluation of the bone healing with the BGS granules in the tibial defect at all time intervals was without inflammation or fibrous tissue encapsulation. After 2 weeks the new bone was observed as a trabeculae network around the granules, and by 6 weeks the defect was completely closed with immature woven bone. By 12 weeks mature woven bone was observed, and new immature woven bone was seen within the cracks of the granules. After 24 weeks the defect was completely healed with lamellar bone and the size of the granules decreased. Histomorphometrically the area percentage of new bone formed was 67.77% after 12 weeks and 63.37% after 24 weeks. Less bone formation after 24 weeks was due to an increased implant surface area contributed by the material degradation and active bone remodeling. The osteostimulative and osteoconductive potential of the BGS granules was established by tetracycline labelling of the mineralizing areas by 2 and 6 weeks. This sol–gel derived BGS granules proved to be bioactive and resorbable which in turn encouraged active bone formation.
Volume 43, 2020
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