Macroporous Calcium Phosphate/Chitosan Composites Prepared via Unidirectional Ice Segregation and Subsequent Freeze-Drying

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Calcium phosphate chitosan-based composites have gained much interest in recent years for biomedical purposes. In this paper, three-dimensional calcium phosphate chitosan-based composites with different mineral contents were produced using a green method called ice segregation induced self-assembly (ISISA). In this methodology, ice crystals were used as a template to produce porous structures from an aqueous solution of chitosan (CS) and hydroxyapatite (Hap) also containing acetic acid (pH = 4.5). For better characterization of the nature of the inorganic matter entrapped within the resulting composite, we performed either oxygen plasma or calcination processes to remove the organic matter. The nature of the phosphate salts was studied by XRD and NMR studies. Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) was identified as the mineral phase in the composites submitted to oxygen plasma, whereas crystalline Hap was obtained after calcination. SEM microscopy revealed the formation of porous structures (porosity around 80–85%) in the original composites, as well as in the inorganic matrices obtained after calcination, with porous channels of up to 50 µm in diameter in the former case and of up to 20 µm in the latter. The biocompatibility of the composites was assessed using two different cell lines: C2C12GFP premyoblastic cells and MC3T3 preosteoblastic cells.
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