Niobium-Doped Hydroxyapatite Bioceramics: Synthesis, Characterization and In Vitro Cytocompatibility
Doping calcium phosphates with ionic species can play an important role in biological responses promoting alkaline phosphatase activity, and, therefore inducing the generation of new bone. Thus, in this study, the synthesis of niobium-doped hydroxyapatite (Nb-HA) nanosize particles obtained by the precipitation process in aqueous media followed by thermal treatment is presented. The bioceramics were extensively characterized by X-ray diffraction, wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence
... etry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and thermal analysis regarding their chemical composition, structure and morphology. The results showed that the precipitate dried at 110 °C was composed of amorphous calcium phosphate and HA, with polidisperse particles ranging from micro to nano dimensions. After the thermal treatment at 900 °C, the bioceramic system evolved predominantly to HA crystalline phase, with evident features of particle sintering and reduction of surface area. Moreover, the addition of 10 mol% of niobium salt precursor during the synthesis indicated the complete incorporation of the Nb(V) species in the HA crystals with detectable changes in the original lattice parameters. Furthermore, the incorporation of Nb ions caused a OPEN ACCESS Materials 2015, 8 4192 significant refinement on the average particle size of HA. Finally, the preliminary cytocompatibility response of the biomaterials was accessed by human osteoblast cell culture using MTT and resazurin assays, which demonstrated no cytotoxicity of the Nb-alloyed hydroxyapatite. Thus, these findings seem promising for developing innovative Nb-doped calcium phosphates as artificial biomaterials for potential use in bone replacements and repair.