A comparison of lithium-substituted phosphate and borate bioactive glasses for mineralised tissue repair

Ke Zhang, Abeer Alaohali, Nuttawan Sawangboon, Paul T. Sharpe, Delia S. Brauer, Eileen Gentleman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
241 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Wnt/β-catenin signalling plays important roles in regeneration, particularly in hard tissues such as bone and teeth, and can be regulated by small molecule antagonists of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3); however, small molecules can be difficult to deliver clinically. Lithium (Li) is also a GSK3 antagonist and can be incorporated into bioactive glasses (BG), which can be used clinically in dental and bone repair applications and tuned to quickly release their constituent ions. Methods: Here, we created phosphate (P)- and borate (B)-based BG that also contained Li (LiPBG and LiBBG) and examined their ion release kinetics and the toxicity of their dissolution ions on mouse 17IA4 dental pulp cells. Results: We found that although LiPBG and LiBBG can both quickly release Li at concentrations known to regulate Wnt/β-catenin signalling, the P and B ions they concomitantly release are highly toxic to cells. Only when relatively low concentrations of LiPBG and LiBBG were placed in cell culture medium were their dissolution products non-toxic. However, at these concentrations, LiPBG and LiBBG's ability to regulate Wnt/β-catenin signalling was limited. Significance: These data suggest that identifying a BG composition that can both quickly deliver high concentrations of Li and is non-toxic remains a challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-927
Number of pages9
JournalDental Materials
Issue number6
Early online date8 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Bioactive glass
  • Lithium
  • Regeneration
  • Wnt/β-catenin signalling


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