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Biosilica incorporated 3D porous scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications
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As a natural and abundant silica mineral, diatomite particles (SiO2-nH2O) have been used in several areas such as filtration, photonics, sound and heat insulation, filler material and drug delivery due to its abundance, inexpensive cost, unique morphology and porous structure. But up to date, diatomite incorporated silica based scaffolds have not been used for bone tissue engineering applications. In the present study, the goal was to combine the useful biomaterial properties of both chitosan and diatomite as biocomposite organic/inorganic biomaterial for bone tissue engineering applications and optimize the silica content of the composites in order to obtain optimum morphological structure, high mechanical properties, enlarged surface area and enhanced cell proliferation. The effect of silica loading on the mechanical, morphological, chemical, and surface properties, wettability and biocompatibility of composite scaffolds were investigated. In addition, in vitro cytotoxicity and cellular activities including cell proliferation, ALP activity and biomineralization were investigated in order to determine biological activity of the composite scaffolds. Diatomite particles lead to enhancement in the water uptake capacity of scaffolds. Chitosan-silica composites exhibited 82–90% porosity. Wet chitosan-silica composite scaffolds exhibited higher compression moduli when compared to pure chitosan scaffold in the range of 67.3–90.1 kPa. Average pore size range of chitosan-diatomite composite scaffolds was obtained as 218-319 μm. In vitro results indicated that chitosan-diatomite composites did not show any cytotoxic effect on 3T3, MG-63 and Saos-2 cell lines. Scaffolds were found to be favorable for osteoblast proliferation. Diatomite incorporation showed promising effects on enhancing ALP activity as well as mineral formation on scaffold surface. Thus, the prepared scaffolds in this study can be considered prospective material for bone tissue engineering applications.