Research Center for Science and Technology in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Department of Tissue Engineering and Applied Cell Science, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
In the present study, a two-step sintering (TSS) method has been used to improve the mechanical properties, biocompatibility, drug release, and osteogenesis abilities of hardystonite (HT) ceramic scaffolds for tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. The average particle size of HT scaffold is kept lower than 80 nm and is reached higher than 130 nm by using two-step and conventional sintering methods, respectively. The compressive strengths of the prepared nanocrystalline HT scaffolds were found to be significantly higher than those of the micro-structure HT and currently available hydroxyapatite scaffolds. A comparative analysis of cell viability and live/dead staining of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in nano- and micro-structured HT scaffolds and their drug release potentiation was carried out. The results showed that the nano-structured HT scaffolds have higher cell viability, biocompatibility and longer-term doxorubicin (DOX) release potential than the micro-structured ones. The results of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) analyses showed that the expression of adhesion and differentiation supporting genes were significantly higher in nano-structured HT scaffolds as compared to the micro-structured ones. The results of qRT-PCR also showed that the mRNA expression level of ERK1/2 and P38 MAPK from hMSCs were significantly higher in nano-structured HT scaffolds than the micro-structured ones. These results potentially open new aspects for using nano-structured scaffolds in bone tissue engineering applications.