Polyethylene Oxide and Silicon-Substituted Hydroxyapatite Composite: A Biomaterial for Hard Tissue Engineering in Orthopedic and Spine Surgery


1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, London, UK; Neuroscience Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon

2 Neuroscience Research Center; Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon; Department of Neurological Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA

3 Neuroscience Research Center; Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon


Background: Tissue engineering and biomaterials have made it possible to innovate bone treatments for orthopedic and spine problems. The aim of this study is to develop a novel polyethylene oxide (PEO)/silicon-substituted hydroxyapatite (Si-HA) composite to be used as a scaffold for hard tissue engineering in orthopedic and spine procedures. Materials and Methods: The composite was fabricated through the electrospinning technique. The applied voltage (5 kV) and PEO concentration (5%) were fixed. Processing parameters such as the flow rates (20 μl/min and 50 μl/min), distances from capillary tube to the collector (130 mm and 180 mm), spinning time (10 min and 20 min), and concentration of Si-HA (0.2% and 0.6%) were explored to find the optimum conditions to produce fine composite fibers. Results: Scanning electron microscope images showed that 5% PEO, 5% PEO/0.2% Si-HA, and 5% PEO/0.6% Si-HA fibers were successively produced. Flow rates and working distances showed significant influence on the morphology of the polymeric and composite fibers. A high flow rate (50 μl/min) and a larger working distance (180 mm) resulted in larger fibers. The comparison between the mean fiber diameter of 5% PEO/0.2% Si-HA and 5% PEO/0.6% Si-HA showed to be significantly different. As the Si-HA concentration increased, certain fibers were having particles of Si-HA that were not properly integrated into the polymer matrix. Conclusions: Synthesis of a novel biomaterial for hard tissue scaffold through electrospinning was successful. In general, PEO/Si-HA fibers produced have the desired characteristics to mimic the extracellular matrix of bone.


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