This study investigates a comprehensive model of bone regeneration capacity of dypiridamole-loaded 3D-printed bioceramic (DIPY-3DPBC) scaffolds composed of 100% beta-tricalcium phosphate (β –TCP) in an immature rabbit model through the time of facial maturity. The efficacy of this construct was compared to autologous bone graft, the clinical standard of care in pediatric craniofacial reconstruction, with attention paid to volume of regenerated bone by 3D reconstruction, histologic and mechanical properties of regenerated bone, and long-term safety regarding potential craniofacial growth restriction. Additionally, long-term degradation of scaffold constructs was evaluated. At 24 weeks in vivo, DIPY-3DPBC scaffolds demonstrated volumetrically significant osteogenic regeneration of calvarial and alveolar defects comparable to autogenous bone graft with favorable biodegradation of the bioactive ceramic component in vivo. Characterization of regenerated bone reveals osteogenesis of organized, vascularized bone with histologic and mechanical characteristics comparable to native bone. Radiographic and histologic analyses were consistent with patent craniofacial sutures. Lastly, through application of 3D morphometric facial surface analysis, our results support that DIPY-3DPBC scaffolds do not cause premature closure of sutures and preserve normal craniofacial growth. Based on this novel evaluation model, this DIPY-3DPBC scaffold strategy is a promising candidate as a safe, efficacious pediatric bone tissue engineering strategy.
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