Implant degradation of low-alloyed Mg–Zn–Ca in osteoporotic, old and juvenile rats


Implant removal is unnecessary for biodegradable magnesium (Mg)-based implants and, therefore, the related risk for implant-induced fractures is limited. Aging, on the other hand, is associated with low bone-turnover and decreased bone mass and density, and thus increased fracture risk. Osteoporosis is accompanied by Mg deficiency, therefore, we hypothesized that Mg-based implants may support bone formation by Mg2+ ion release in an ovariectomy-induced osteoporotic rat model. Hence, we investigated osseointegration and implant degradation of a low-alloyed, degrading Mg–Zn–Ca implant (ZX00) in ovariectomy-induced osteoporotic (Osteo), old healthy (OH), and juvenile healthy (JH) groups of female Sprague Dawley rats via in vivo micro-computed tomography (µCT). For the Osteo rats, we demonstrate diminished trabecular bone already after 8 weeks upon ovariectomy and significantly enhanced implant volume loss, with correspondingly pronounced gas formation, compared to the OH and JH groups. Sclerotic rim development was observed in about half of the osteoporotic rats, suggesting a prevention from foreign-body and osteonecrosis development. Synchrotron radiation-based µCT confirmed lower bone volume fractions in the Osteo group compared to the OH and JH groups. Qualitative histological analysis additionally visualized the enhanced implant degradation in the Osteo group. To date, ZX00 provides an interesting implant material for young and older healthy patients, but it may not be of advantage in pharmacologically untreated osteoporotic conditions.
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