Synthesis and Manufacture of 3D Nanocomposite Scaffolds for Osteochondral Regeneration via Table-top 3D Printing Open Access
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Osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease are largely intractable and difficult to address with current traditional surgical methods due to the poor inherent regenerative capacity, complex stratified architecture, and disparate biomechanical properties of the host tissue and implanted graft. The current clinical gold standard for catastrophic or late stage joint degradation is total joint arthroplasty where the damaged joint is completely excised and replaced with a composite artificial joint. Unfortunately, small or focal sized defects are either left untreated or inadequately addressed leading to degeneration of the tissue. With the advent of three-dimensional (3D) printing and bioactive biomaterials, our studies have sought to employ advanced techniques to effectively regrow osteochondral (bone-cartilage) tissue. Nanomaterial inclusion and controlled 3D printed structures serve to effectively increase nanoscale surface roughness, mechanical performance as well as provide effective ordered microchannel structure for nutrient diffusion and waste removal. All of the approaches explored through the scope of this work have proved highly effective for enhancing stem cell growth and morphogenesis. Finally, growth factor loaded polymeric nanospheres fabricated through a highly controlled wet electrospray method greatly improved cell behavior through sustained and controlled growth factor release for stem cell and mature cell tissue formation. In conclusion, 3D printing when combined effectively with biomimetic and bioactive nanomaterials can provide highly tunable and bioactively functional implants to serve as effective tissue forming 3D environments.