Osteoblast growth and function in porous poly ε-caprolactone matrices for bone repair: A preliminary study

G. Ciapetti, L. Ambrosio, L. Savarino, D. Granchi, E. Cenni, N. Baldini, S. Pagani, S. Guizzardi, F. Causa, A. Giunti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current methods for the replacement of skeletal tissue involve the use of autografts, allografts and, recently, synthetic substitutes, which provide a proper amount of material to repair large bone defects. Engineered bone seems a promising approach, but a number of variables have to be set prior to any clinical application. In this study, four different poly caprolactone-based polymers (PCL) were prepared and tested in vitro using osteoblast-like Saos-2 cells. Differences among three-dimensional polymers include porosity, addition of hydroxyapatite (HA) particles, and treatment with simulated body fluid. Biochemical parameters to assess cell/material interactions include viability, growth, alkaline phosphatase release, and mineralization of osteoblastic cells seeded onto three-dimensional samples, while their morphology was observed using light microscopy and SEM. Preliminary results show that the polymers, though degrading in the medium, have a positive interaction with cells, as they support cell growth and functions. In the short-term culture (3-7 days) of Saos-2 on polymers, little differences were found among PCL samples, with the presence of HA moderately improving the number of cells onto the surfaces. In the long term (3-4 weeks), it was found that the HA-added polymers obtained the best colonization by cells, and more mineral formation was observed after coating with SBF. It can be concluded that PCL is a promising material for three-dimensional scaffold for bone formation, and the presence of bone-like components improves osteoblast activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3815-3824
Number of pages10
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003


  • Biodegradation
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Osteoblasts
  • Poly ε-caprolactone
  • Polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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