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Clinoptilolite/PCL-PEG-PCL composite scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications

The aim of this study was to prepare and characterize highly porous clinoptilolite/poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) composite scaffolds. Scaffolds with different clinoptilolite contents (10% and 20%) were fabricated with reproducible solvent-free powder compression/particulate leaching technique. The scaffolds had interconnective porosity in the range of 55-76%. Clinoptilolite/poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol)poly(epsilon-caprolactone) scaffolds showed negligible degradation within eight weeks and displayed less water uptake and higher bioactivity than poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) scaffolds. The presence of clinoptilolite improved the mechanical properties. Highest compressive strength (5.6 MPa) and modulus (114.84 MPa) were reached with scaffold group containing 20% clinoptilolite. In vitro protein adsorption capacity of the scaffolds was also higher for clinoptilolite/poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) scaffolds. These scaffolds had 0.95 mg protein/g scaffold adsorption capacity and also higher osteoinductivity in terms of enhanced ALP, OSP activities and intracellular calcium deposition. Stoichiometric apatite deposition (Ca/P = 1.686) was observed during cellular proliferation analysis with human fetal osteoblasts cells. Thus, it can be suggested that clinoptilolite/poly(epsilon-caprolactone)poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) composite scaffolds could be promising carriers for enhancement of bone regeneration in bone tissue engineering applications.