Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Weiping Ren


Failure of osseointegration (direct anchorage of an implant by bone formation at the bone-implant surface) and implant infection (such as that caused by Staphylococcus aureus, S. aureus) are the two main causes of implant failure and loosening. There is a critical need for orthopedic implants that promote rapid osseointegration and prevent bacterial colonization, particularly when placed in bone compromised by disease or physiology of the patients. A better understanding of the key factors that influence cell fate decisions at the bone-implant interface is required. Our study is to develop a class of "bone-like" nanofibers (NFs) that promote osseointegration while preventing bacterial colonization and subsequent infections. This research goal is supported by our preliminary data on the preparation of coaxial electrospun NFs composed of polycaprolactone (PCL) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) polymers arranged in a core-sheath shape. The PCL/PVA NFs are biocompatible and biodegradable with appropriate fiber diameter, pore size and mechanical strength, leading to enhanced cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of osteoblast precursor cells. The objective is to develop functionalized "bone-like" PCL/PVA NFs matrix embedded with antibiotics (doxycycline (Doxy), bactericidal and anti-osteoclastic) on prosthesis surface. Through a rat tibia implantation model, the Doxy incorporated coaxial NFs has demonstrated excellent in promoting osseointegration and bacteria inhibitory efficacy. NFs coatings significantly enhanced the bonding between implant and bone remodeling within 8 weeks. The SA-induced osteomyelitis was prevented by the sustained release of Doxy from NFs. The capability of embedding numerous bio-components including proteins, growth factors, drugs, etc. enables NFs an effective solution to overcome the current challenged issue in Total joint replacement. In summary, we proposed PCL/PVA electrospun nanofibers as promising biomaterials that can be applied on joint replacement prosthesis to improve osseointegration and prevent osteomyelitis.