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The cellular response to hypoxia (low oxygen pressure) is vital for skeletal tissue development and regeneration. Numerous processes, including progenitor cell recruitment, differentiation and angiogenesis, are activated via the hypoxia pathway. Novel materials-based strategies designed to activate the hypoxia pathway are therefore of great interest for orthopaedic tissue engineering. Resorbable bioactive glasses (BGs) were developed to activate the hypoxia pathway by the controlled release of cobalt ions (at physiological relevant concentrations) whilst controlling BG apatite-forming ability. Two series of soda-lime-phosphosilicate glasses were synthesised with increasing concentrations of cobalt. Compositions were calculated to maintain constant network connectivity (2.13) by considering that cobalt is taking part in the network in the first series, and is acting as a network modifier in the second series. Mg2+ and Zn2+ were added to one of the Co 2+-containing glasses to inhibit HCA formation. The presence of HCA formation is undesirable for the use of BG in soft tissues e.g. cartilage. Cobalt was present in both the silicate and phosphate phases of the BG. In addition, evidence was found that it plays a dual role in the silicate phase, entering the network as well as disrupting it as a network modifying oxide. Consistent with this dual role, the presence of cobalt in the BG was shown to decrease ion release. HCA formation was delayed with cobalt addition as well as incorporation of Mg2+ and Zn2+ into the BGs. Importantly, cobalt release was found to be proportional to cobalt content of the BGs enabling the controlled delivery of cobalt in therapeutically active doses. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Materials Chemistry

Publication Date





8854 - 8864