Micropore-induced capillarity enhances bone distribution in vivo in biphasic calcium phosphate scaffolds

Laurence E. Rustom, Thomas Boudou, Siyu Lou, Isabelle Pignot-Paintrand, Brett W. Nemke, Yan Lu, Mark D. Markel, Catherine Picart, Amy J. Wagoner Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing demand for bone repair solutions calls for the development of efficacious bone scaffolds. Biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) scaffolds with both macropores and micropores (MP) have improved healing compared to those with macropores and no micropores (NMP), but the role of micropores is unclear. Here, we evaluate capillarity induced by micropores as a mechanism that can affect bone growth in vivo. Three groups of cylindrical scaffolds were implanted in pig mandibles for three weeks: MP were implanted either dry (MP-Dry), or after submersion in phosphate buffered saline, which fills pores with fluid and therefore suppresses micropore-induced capillarity (MP-Wet); NMP were implanted dry. The amount and distribution of bone in the scaffolds were quantified using micro-computed tomography. MP-Dry had a more homogeneous bone distribution than MP-Wet, although the average bone volume fraction, BVF‾, was not significantly different for these two groups (0.45 ± 0.03 and 0.37 ± 0.03, respectively). There was no significant difference in the radial bone distribution of NMP and MP-Wet, but the BVF‾, of NMP was significantly lower among the three groups (0.25 ± 0.02). These results suggest that micropore-induced capillarity enhances bone regeneration by improving the homogeneity of bone distribution in BCP scaffolds. The explicit design and use of capillarity in bone scaffolds may lead to more effective treatments of large and complex bone defects. Statement of Significance The increasing demand for bone repair calls for more efficacious bone scaffolds and calcium phosphate-based materials are considered suitable for this application. Macropores (>100 μm) are necessary for bone ingrowth and vascularization. However, studies have shown that microporosity (<20 μm) also enhances growth, but there is no consensus on the controlling mechanisms. In previous in vitro work, we suggested that micropore-induced capillarity had the potential to enhance bone growth in vivo. This work illustrates the positive effects of capillarity on bone regeneration in vivo; it demonstrates that micropore-induced capillarity significantly enhances the bone distribution in the scaffold. The results will impact the design of scaffolds to better exploit capillarity and improve treatments for large and load-bearing bone defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Oct 15 2016


  • Bone regeneration
  • Calcium phosphate scaffold
  • Capillary action
  • Micro-computed tomography
  • Microporosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Micropore-induced capillarity enhances bone distribution in vivo in biphasic calcium phosphate scaffolds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this