Synthesis and incorporation of rod-like nano-hydroxyapatite into type I collagen matrix: A hybrid formulation for 3D printing of bone scaffolds

Journal of the European Ceramic Society Volume 40, Issue 11 (2020)
Giorgia Montalbano, Giulia Molino, Sonia Fiorilli, Chiara Vitale-Brovarone

Over the recent years, nanometric hydroxyapatite (HA) has gained interest as constituent of hybrid systems for bone scaffold fabrication, due to its biomimicry and biocompatibility. In this study, rod-like nano-HA particles were introduced in a type I collagen matrix to create a composite mimicking the bone composition. HA nano-rods (4060 nm × 20 nm) were synthesised by hydrothermal method involving the use of an ammonium-based dispersing agent (Darvan 821-A) and fully characterised. The homogeneous dispersion of HA nanoparticles throughout the final hybrid formulation was achieved through their suspension in a collagen solution in presence of Darvan 821-A. The resulting homogeneous collagen/nano-HA suspension proved to be suitable for extrusion printing applications, showing shear thinning and sol-gel transition upon simil-physiological conditions. Furthermore, mesh-like structures were printed in a gelatine-supporting bath by means of a commercial bioprinter further demonstrating the potential of the designed hybrid system for the fabrication of 3D bone-like scaffolds.