Polypyrrole coating on poly-(lactide/glycolide)-β-tricalcium phosphate screws enhances new bone formation in rabbits
Polypyrrole (PPy) has gained interest as an implant material due to its multifunctional properties and its high compatibility with several cell and tissue types. For the first time, the biocompatibility and osteointegration of PPy coating, incorporated with chondroitin sulfate (CS), were studied in vivo by implanting PPy-coated bioabsorbable bone fixation composite screws of poly-(lactide/glycolide) copolymer (PLGA) and β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP) into New Zealand white rabbits. Uncoated bioabsorbable polymer composite screws and commercially available stainless steel cortical screws were used as reference implants. The rabbits were euthanized 12 and 26 weeks after the implantation. The systemic effects were evaluated from food and water consumption, body weight, body temperature, clinical signs, blood samples, internal organ weights, and histological examination. Local effects were studied from bone tissue and surrounding soft tissue histology. New bone formation was evaluated by micro-computed tomography, tetracycline labeling and torsion tests. Torsion tests were performed in order to capture the peak value of the torsion force during the course of the screw's loosening. The coated screws induced significantly more bone formation than the uncoated screws. In addition, none of the implants induced any systemic or local toxicity. The results suggest that PPy is biocompatible with bone tissue and is a potential coating for enhancing osteointegration in orthopedic implants.