3D interconnected porous biomimetic scaffolds: In vitro cell response

Silvia Panzavolta, Paola Torricelli, Sofia Amadori, Annapaola Parrilli, Katia Rubini, Elena Della Bella, Milena Fini, Adriana Bigi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bone cell response to 3D bioinspired scaffolds was tested on osteoblast culture supernatants and by means of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Foaming and freeze-drying method was optimized in order to obtain three-dimensional interconnected porous scaffolds of gelatin at different contents of nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite (HA). Addition of a non toxic crosslinking agent during foaming stabilized the scaffolds, as confirmed by the slow and relatively low gelatin release in phosphate buffer up to 28 days. Micro-computed tomography reconstructed images showed porous interconnected structures, with interconnected pores displaying average diameter ranging from about 158 to about 71 μm as the inorganic phase content increases from 0 to 50 wt %. The high values of connectivity (>99%), porosity (> 60%), and percentage of pores with a size in the range 100-300 μm (>50%) were maintained up to 30 wt % HA, whereas higher content provoked a reduction of these parameters, as well as of the average pore size, and a significant increase of the compressive modulus and collapse strength up to 8 ± 1 and 0.9 ± 0.2 MPa, respectively. Osteoblast cultured on the scaffolds showed good adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. The presence of HA promoted ALP activity, TGF-β1, and osteocalcin production, in agreement with the observed upregulation of ALP, OC, Runx2, and TGF-β1 gene in qPCR analysis, indicating that the composite scaffolds enhanced osteoblast activation and extra-cellular matrix mineralization processes. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 101A: 3560-3570, 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3560-3570
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • bone scaffold
  • gelatin
  • hydroxyapatite
  • osteoblast
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Metals and Alloys


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