Mechanical properties of a biodegradable bone regeneration scaffold.
Poly (Propylene Fumarate) (PPF), a novel, bulk erosion, biodegradable polymer, has been shown to have osteoconductive effects in vivo when used as a bone regeneration scaffold (Peter, S. J., Suggs, L. J., Yaszemski, M. J., Engel, P. S., and Mikos, A. J., 1999, J. Biomater. Sci. Polym. Ed., 10, pp. 363-373). The material properties of the polymer allow it to be injected into irregularly shaped voids in vivo and provide mechanical stability as well as function as a bone regeneration scaffold. We fabricated a series of biomaterial composites, comprised of varying quantities of PPF, NaCl and beta-tricalcium phosphate (beta-TCP), into the shape of right circular cylinders and tested the mechanical properties in four-point bending and compression. The mean modulus of elasticity in compression (Ec) was 1204.2 MPa (SD 32.2) and the mean modulus of elasticity in bending (Eb) was 1274.7 MPa (SD 125.7). All of the moduli were on the order of magnitude of trabecular bone. Changing the level of NaCl from 20 to 40 percent, by mass, did not decrease Ec and Eb significantly, but did decrease bending and compressive strength significantly. Increasing the beta-TCP from 0.25 g/g PPF to 0.5 g/g PPF increased all of the measured mechanical properties of PPF/NVP composites. These results indicate that this biodegradable polymer composite is an attractive candidate for use as a replacement scaffold for trabecular bone.