The present work presents and discusses the results of a comprehensive study on the bioactive properties of Nb-substituted silicate glass derived from 45S5 bioglass. In vitro and in vivo experiments were performed. We undertook three different types of in vitro analyses: (i) investigation of the kinetics of chemical reactivity and the bioactivity of Nb-substituted glass in simulated body fluid (SBF) by 31P MASNMR spectroscopy, (ii) determination of ionic leaching profiles in buffered solution by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), and (iii) assessment of the compatibility and osteogenic differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) treated with dissolution products of different compositions of Nb-substituted glass. The results revealed that Nb-substituted glass is not toxic to hESCs. Moreover, adding up to 1.3 mol% of Nb2O5 to 45S5 bioglass significantly enhanced its osteogenic capacity. For the in vivo experiments, trial glass rods were implanted into circular defects in rat tibia in order to evaluate their biocompatibility and bioactivity. Results showed all Nb-containing glass was biocompatible and that the addition of 1.3 mol% of Nb2O5, replacing phosphorous, increases the osteostimulation of bioglass. Therefore, these results support the assertion that Nb-substituted glass is suitable for biomedical applications.
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