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Optimisation of lithium-substituted bioactive glasses to tailor cell response for hard tissue repair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Jeison Gabriel da Silva, Rebecca Babb, Christoph Salzlechner, Paul Sharpe, Delia S. Brauer, Eileen Gentleman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8832–8844
Number of pages13
Early online date9 Feb 2017
Accepted/In press24 Jan 2017
E-pub ahead of print9 Feb 2017


King's Authors


Bioactive glasses (BG) are used clinically because they can both bond to hard tissue and release therapeutic ions that can stimulate nearby cells. Lithium has been shown to regulate the Wnt/β-catenin cell signalling pathway, which plays important roles in the formation and repair of bone and teeth. Lithium-releasing BG, therefore, have the potential to locally regulate hard tissue formation; however, their design must be tailored to induce an appropriate biological response. Here, we optimised the release of lithium from lithium-substituted BG by varying BG composition, particle size and concentration to minimise toxicity and maximise upregulation of the Wnt target gene Axin2 in in vitro cell cultures. Our results show that we can tailor lithium release from BG over a wide therapeutic and non-toxic range. Increasing the concentration of BG in cell culture medium can induce toxicity, likely due to modulations in pH. Nevertheless, at sub-toxic concentrations, lithium released from BG can upregulate the Wnt pathway in 17IA4 cells, similarly to treatment with LiCl. Taken together, these data demonstrate that ion release from lithium-substituted BG can be tailored to maximise biological response. These data may be important in the design of BG that can regulate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway to promote hard tissue repair or regeneration.

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