Controlling calcium and phosphate ion release of 3D printed bioactive ceramic scaffolds: An in vitro study

Lukasz Witek, Yang Shi, James Smay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper characterizes in an in vitro setting the release of calcium (Ca) and phosphate (PO4) of 3D printed bioactive ceramic scaffold prepared from extrudable paste containing hydroxyapatite and β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP). Hydroxyapatite and β-TCP were calcined at 800 °C for 11 h, fabricated into four experimental groups (100% HA, 100% β-TCP, 15%/85% HA/β-TCP, and 15%/85% HA/β-TCP (design)), sintered to 1100 °C for 4 h. Calcium and phosphorus concentrations were evaluated using ICP spectroscopy, and the release of Ca and PO4 ions during dissolution of the CaP-based scaffolds was measured by submerging in 0.05 mol/L Tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane-HCl and maintaining a temperature of 37 °C. The Ca and PO4 concentrations of the solutions were measured with the utilization of a calcium assay kit and a phosphate assay kit and read in a UV–visible spectrophotometer. The 100% HA scaffold group showed the greatest concentration of Ca ions (~1.9 mg/dL), but ultimately released at a lower amount as time increased; the 100% HA scaffold also showed the lowest total amount of calcium ions released over the course of evaluation. The results for the 100% β-TCP were on the opposite of the HA with the highest amount of calcium ion release over the study. While the PO4 ion release showed a similar trend as those observed with Ca ions with an apparent difference in the 100% HA scaffold group. There was nearly 0 mg/dL of the phosphate ions released in the first 24 h, in comparison to the amount of Ca ions released during the same time frame. Since various formulations can lead to different properties of these bioactive ceramic scaffolds, it is important to understand how the tailoring of this important biphasic material can impact the long-term outcome of an ever-important in vivo clinical trial in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Advanced Ceramics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • 3D printing
  • calcium
  • in vitro
  • phoshpate
  • scaffolds
  • β-TCP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites


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