The brittleness of glass-ceramic scaffolds for bone tissue engineering can be overcome by the application of reinforcing mechanisms, such as coating with appropriate polymers for enhanced performance and function. The purpose of this study was the synthesis and characterization of biocompatible and biodegradable multiscale macro/mesoporous hybrid scaffolds, using new functionalized polyesters.
Bioactive glass-based scaffolds were fabricated by the foam replica technique and the selected composition for the bioactive glass was 1393. For establishing a mesoporous structure, a mesoporous magnesium-containing calcium silicate sol was synthesized by the sol-gel method. Droplets of the newly prepared sol were applied to the obtained bioactive glass scaffolds and after mild centrifuging for the removal of the excess sol, they were left to dry before their final sintering. The new biopolyester poly(glycerolsuccinate) (PGSu) was prepared by the reaction of trifunctional glycerol and diacid succinic acid in two steps: (a) prepolycondensation and (b) thermal crosslinking. Prepolymers with different properties were produced by changing parameters such as the molar concentration of the reactants, the COOH/OH ratio, and the reaction time/temperature. The solubility of the products was also tested using several common solvents. Solutions of PGSu were used to coat the bioactive glass-based scaffolds and another prepolymer, i.e. poly (glycerol sebacate) (PGS) was used as control. Suspensions containing the polymers (PGSu or PGS) and mesoporous magnesium-containing calcium silicate particles were used to obtain scaffolds with enhanced bioactivity. The morphology and porous structure of the scaffolds was investigated by SEM, their mechanical strength was evaluated under compressive stress and also their bioactivity was assessed. Positive and promising results in terms of enhancing the functionalities of bioactive glass-based scaffolds were reported for both tested polymers.