Highly porous 45S5 bioactive glass-based scaffolds were fabricated by the foam replica technique and coated with collagen by a novel method. After an initial cleaning step of the bioactive glass surface to expose reactive –OH groups, samples were surface functionalized by (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTS). Functionalized scaffolds were immersed in a collagen solution, left for gelling at 37 °C, and dried at room temperature. The collagen coating was further stabilized by crosslinking with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC) and N
-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS). Applying this coating method, a layer thickness of a few micrometers was obtained without affecting the overall scaffold macroporosity. In addition, values of compressive strength were enhanced by a factor of five, increasing from 0.04 ± 0.02 MPa for uncoated scaffolds to 0.18 ± 0.03 MPa for crosslinked collagen-coated scaffolds. The composite material developed in this study exhibited positive cell (MG-63) viability as well as suitable cell attachment and proliferation on the surface. The combination of bioactivity, mechanical competence, and cellular response makes this novel scaffold system attractive for bone tissue engineering.
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