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In vitro and in vivo investigation of antibacterial silver nanoparticles functionalized bone grafting substitutes.

Infection is a major concern in surgery involving grafting and should be considered thoroughly when designing biomaterials. There is considerable renewed interest in silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) owing to their ability to potentiate antibacterial properties against multiple bacterial strains. This study aimed to develop two antibacterial bone regenerative scaffolds by integrating AgNPs in bovine bone particles (BBX) (Product 1), and a light cross-linked hydrogel GelMA (Product 2). The constructs were characterized using scanning electron microscopy. Metabolic activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts on the constructs was investigated using PrestoBlue™. Disk diffusion assay was conducted to test the antibacterial properties. The regenerative capacity of the optimized AgNP functionalized BBX and GelMA were tested in a rabbit cranial 6 mm defect model. The presence of AgNPs appears to enhance proliferation of osteoblasts compared to AgNP free controls in vitro. We established that AgNPs can be used at a 100 μg dose that inhibits bacteria, with minimal adverse effects on the bone cells. Our rabbit model revealed that both the BBX and GelMA hydrogels loaded AgNPs were biocompatible with no signs of necrosis or inflammatory response. Grafts functionalized with AgNPs can provide antibacterial protection and simultaneously act as a scaffold for attachment of bone cells.

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