Degradable bone graft substitute for large-volume bone defects is a continuously developing field in orthopedics. With the advance in biomaterial in past decades, a wide range of new materials has been investigated for their potential in this application. When compared to common biopolymers within the field such as PLA or PCL, elastomers such as polyurethane offer some unique advantages in terms of flexibility. In cases of bone defect treatments, a flexible soft filler can help to establish an intimate contact with surrounding bones to provide a stable bone-material interface for cell proliferation and ingrowth of tissue. In this study, a porous filler based on segmented polyurethane incorporated with poly l
-lactic acid was synthesized by a phase inverse salt leaching method. The filler was put through in vitro and in vivo tests to evaluate its potential in acting as a bone graft substitute for critical-sized bone defects. In vitro results indicated there was a major improvement in biological response, including cell attachment, proliferation and alkaline phosphatase expression for osteoblast-like cells when seeded on the composite material compared to unmodified polyurethane. In vivo evaluation on a critical-sized defect model of New Zealand White (NZW) rabbit indicated there was bone ingrowth along the defect area with the introduction of the new filler. A tight interface formed between bone and filler, with osteogenic cells proliferating on the surface. The result suggested polyurethane/poly l
-lactic acid composite is a material with the potential to act as a bone graft substitute for orthopedics application.
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