One of the most damaging pathologies that affects the health of both soft and hard tissues around the tooth is periodontitis. Clinically, periodontal tissue destruction has been managed by an integrated approach involving elimination of injured tissues followed by regenerative strategies with bone substitutes and/or barrier membranes. Regrettably, a barrier membrane with predictable mechanical integrity and multifunctional therapeutic features has yet to be established. Herein, we report a fiber-reinforced hydrogel with unprecedented tunability in terms of mechanical competence and therapeutic features by integration of highly porous poly(ε-caprolactone) fibrous mesh(es) with well-controlled 3D architecture into bioactive amorphous magnesium phosphate-laden gelatin methacryloyl hydrogels. The presence of amorphous magnesium phosphate and PCL mesh in the hydrogel can control the mechanical properties and improve the osteogenic ability, opening a tremendous opportunity in guided bone regeneration (GBR). Results demonstrate that the presence of PCL meshes fabricated via melt electrowriting can delay hydrogel degradation preventing soft tissue invasion and providing the mechanical barrier to allow time for slower migrating progenitor cells to participate in bone regeneration due to their ability to differentiate into bone-forming cells. Altogether, our approach offers a platform technology for the development of the next-generation of GBR membranes with tunable mechanical and therapeutic properties to amplify bone regeneration in compromised sites.
Full Access Link: Acta Biomaterialia