journal article

Utilizing computational modelling to bridge the gap between in vivo and in vitro degradation rates for Mg-xGd implants


Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys are promising materials for temporary bone implants due to their mechanical properties and biocompatibility. The most challenging aspect of Mg-based implants involves adapting the degradation rate to the human body, which requires extensive in vitro and in vivo testing. Given that in vivo tests are significantly more labour-intensive than in vitro and ethics prohibit direct experiments on animals or humans, attempts are commonly undertaken to infer conclusions on in vivo degradation behavior from in vitro experiments. However, there is a wide gap between these tests, and in vitro testing is often a poor predictor of in vivo outcomes. In the development of biodegradable Mg-based implants, considerable efforts are being made to reduce the overall time and cost of in vitro and in vivo testing. Finding a suitable alternative to predict the degradation of Mg alloys, however, remains challenging. We present computational modelling as a possible alternative to bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo testing, thus reducing overall cost, duration and number of experiments. However, traditional modelling approaches for complex biodegradable systems are still rather time-consuming and require a clear definition of the relations between input parameters and the model result. In this study, Kriging surrogate models based on the peridynamic in vitro degradation model were developed to simulate the degradation behavior for two main alloys, Mg-5Gd and Mg-10Gd, for both in vitro and in vivo cases. Using Kriging surrogate models, the simulation parameters were calibrated to the volume loss data from in vitro and in vivo experiments. In vivo degradation of magnesium has one order of magnitude higher apparent diffusion coefficients than in vitro degradation, thus yielding the higher volume loss observed in vivo than in vitro. On the basis of the diffusivity of the Mg2+ ions modeled under in vitro degradation, Kriging surrogate models were able to simulate the in vivo degradation behavior of Mg-xGd with a ratio between 0.46 and 0.5, indicating that the surrogate-modelling approach is able to bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo degradation rates for Mg-xGd implants.
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