Facing the extremely complex biological system of human organism, the requirements for scaffold materials in regenerative medicine are enormous and tremendously challenging. Reconstruction of bone is one of the most intensively investigated areas, therefore the demands on scaffolds are well defined: biocompatibility, creation of a 3D-network with desired pore size and interconnectivity for directed cell growth and support of vascularization of the ingrown tissue, certain mechanical, physical and chemical properties and appropriate degradation characteristics with non-toxic residues.
Especially the creation of polymer-based composite materials, mimicing the composite nature of real bone, with inorganic fillers such as hydroxyapatite or calcium carbonate represents an alternative choice to overcome the mechanical limitations and introduce mineral components promoting bone regeneration. Particularly nano-sized fillers have been stated to exhibit special properties, e.g. increased bioactivity, due to the huge specific surface area compared to traditional micro-sized ceramic materials.
Polylactide (PLA) is a resorbable medically approved osteosynthesis material, that is limited in its application due its inherent brittleness. However, fabricated into fibers the remarkable potential of PLA is evident: silk-like fibers with 20-200% elongation of break can be fabricated. Thus, PLA fibers have emerged in to the textile industry applications. Further textile processing, e.g. embroidery technology, allows for various scaffolds designs with adjustable scaffold geometry, porosity and mechanical properties.
Therefore, the aim of our ongoing study is the fabrication and investigation of PLA based composite fibers with incorporated nano-sized CaCO3. Our first results concerning the textile-mechanical properties, degradation rate, calcium release and hydroxycarbonate apatite forming ability in simulated body fluid are presented.