In-vitro evaluation of Polylactic acid (PLA) manufactured by fused deposition modeling

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Background: With additive manufacturing (AM) individual and biocompatible implants can be generated by using suitable materials. The aim of this study was to investigate the biological effects of polylactic acid (PLA) manufactured by Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) on osteoblasts in vitro according to European Norm / International Organization for Standardization 10,993-5. Method: Human osteoblasts (hFOB 1.19) were seeded onto PLA samples produced by FDM and investigated for cell viability by fluorescence staining after 24 h. Cell proliferation was measured after 1, 3, 7 and 10 days by cell-counting and cell morphology was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. For control, we used titanium samples and polystyrene (PS). Results: Cell viability showed higher viability on PLA (95,3% +/- 2.1%) than in control (91,7% +/- 2,7%). Cell proliferation was highest in the control group (polystyrene) and higher on PLA samples compared to the titanium samples. Scanning electron microscopy revealed homogenous covering of sample surface with regularly spread cells on PLA as well as on titanium. Conclusion: The manufacturing of PLA discs from polylactic acid using FDM was successful. The in vitro investigation with human fetal osteoblasts showed no cytotoxic effects. Furthermore, FDM does not seem to alter biocompatibility of PLA. Nonetheless osteoblasts showed reduced growth on PLA compared to the polystyrene control within the cell experiments. This could be attributed to surface roughness and possible release of residual monomers. Those influences could be investigated in further studies and thus lead to improvement in the additive manufacturing process. In addition, further research focused on the effect of PLA on bone growth should follow. In summary, PLA processed in Fused Deposition Modelling seems to be an attractive material and method for reconstructive surgery because of their biocompatibility and the possibility to produce individually shaped scaffolds.
Osteoblast, Fused deposition modeling, Polylactic acid, Additive manufacturing, 3d printing
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Wurm, M. C., Möst, T., Bergauer, B., Rietzel, D., Neukam, F. W., Cifuentes, S. C., & Von Wilmowsky, C. (2017). In-vitro evaluation of polylactic acid (PLA) manufactured by fused deposition modeling. Journal of Biological Engineering, 11(1).