Published: 9 November 2020
Magnesium (Mg)-based alloys are promising biodegradable materials for bone repair applications. However, due to their rapid degradation and high corrosion rate, Mg-based alloys are typically associated with in vivo infections and implant failure. This study evaluated the synergistic stability and anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially be achieved by the modification of the Mg alloy with graphene nanoparticles (Gr). Incorporation of low dosages of Gr (0.18 and 0.50 wt %) in a Mg alloy with aluminum (Al, 1 wt %) and copper (Cu, 0.25 wt %) was successfully achieved by a spark plasma sintering (SPS) method. Notably, the degradation rate of the Mg-based alloys was reduced approximately 4-fold and the bactericidal activity was enhanced up to 5-fold with incorporation of only 0.18 wt % Gr to the Mg–1Al–Cu matrix. Moreover, the modified Mg-based nanocomposites with 0.18 wt % Gr demonstrated compressive properties within the range of native cancellous bone (modulus of approximately 6 GPa), whereas in vitro studies with human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) showed high cytocompatibility and superior osteogenic properties compared to non-Gr-modified Mg–1Al–Cu implants. Overall, this study provides foundations for the fabrication of stable, yet fully resorbable, Mg-based bone implants that could reduce implant-associated infections.
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