Biodegradable biomaterials have been proposed to prepare orthopedic devices. Nacre is a natural aragonitic material made of calcium carbonate and is bioerodible.
We postulated that nacre is biodegradable without provoking bone erosion and favors bone apposition.
Material and methods
We prepared orthopedic screws from nacre of the giant oyster Pinctada maxima. Threaded screws (3.5mm diameter) were implanted in 6 ewes in the upper tibial metaphysis (3 to 4 screws per animal). Their trajectory was transcortical and intramedullary to the opposite cortex. Animals were kept for 3months (n=2) and 6 months (n=4). They did not develop local inflammation. Before euthanasia, they received a double calcein labeling. Bone samples were analyzed by X-ray nanotomography and histology after embedding in poly(methyl methacrylate). The fractal dimension of the screw profiles (measured by the box-counting method) was used to quantify surface erosion.
3D nanotomography showed a gradual erosion of the threads, which was confirmed by a decreased fractal dimension. Histologically, multinucleated cells (non-osteoclastic appearance) were visible at the surface of the screws. No ruffled border was seen in these cells but they had extensions creeping in the organic matter between the aragonite tablets. Bone apposition was noted in the transcortical path of the screws with limited osteoconduction at the endosteum. Mineralization rate was increased in these zones composed of woven bone in contact with the nacre.
Discussion and conclusion
Screws prepared from nacre have the advantage of an in vivo resorbability by macrophage-derived cells and an osteoconductive apposition in contact with the material without triggering a local inflammatory reaction.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Nacre, Orthopedic screws, Nanotomography, 3D imaging, Fractal geometry, Biodegradation