Phosphate/oxyfluorophosphate glass crystallization and its impact on dissolution and cytotoxicity

A. Nommeots-Nomm, A. Houaoui, A. Pradeepan Packiyanathar, X. Chen, M. Hokka, R. Hill, E. Pauthe, L. Petit, M. Boissière, J. Massera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The role of fluorine in bioactive glasses is of interest due to the potential of precipitating fluorapatite, a phase with higher chemical resistance than the typical hydroxyapatite precipitated from oxide bioactive glasses. However, the introduction of fluorine in silicate bioactive glasses was found deleterious to the bioactivity of the glass. Here, phosphate glasses with the composition 75NaPO3-(25-x) CaO-xCaF2 (in mol%), with x = 0–20 and glass-ceramics were investigated to evaluate their potential as substitutes to the traditional silicate bioactive glass. An increase in CaF2 substitution for CaO led to an increase in the glass solubility, due to an increase in highly soluble F(M)n species (where M is a cation) and to an increased polymerization of the phosphate network. Structural analysis reveals the formation of F[sbnd]P bonds, in addition to the F(M)n species, in the glass with the higher CaF2 content. Furthermore, with heat treatment, CaF2 crystals precipitate within the bulk in the newly developed glass, when x = 20. This bulk crystallization reduces the glass dissolution without compromising the precipitation of a reactive layer at the glass surface. Finally, in vitro cell tests were performed using MC3T3 pre-osteoblastic cells. While the substitution of CaF2 for CaO led to an increased cytotoxicity, the controlled crystallization of the fluorine containing glasses decreased such cytotoxicity to similar values than traditional bioactive phosphate glass (x0). This study reports on new oxyfluorophosphate glass and glass-ceramics able, not only, to precipitate a Ca-P reactive layer but also to be processed into glass-ceramics with controlled crystal size, density and cellular activity. Statement of significance: Uncontrolled crystallization of bioactive glasses has negative effect on the materials' bioactivity. While in silicate glass the bioactivity is solely reduced, in phosphate glasses it is often completely suppressed. Furthermore, the need for fluorine containing bioactive glasses, not only for use in bone reconstruction but also in toothpaste as emerged. The addition of F in both silicate and phosphate has led to challenges due the lack of Si-F or P-F bonds, generally leading to a decrease in bioactivity. Here, we developed a bioactive invert phosphate glass where up to 20 mol% of CaO was replaced with CaF2. In the new developed glasses, NMR demonstrated formation of P-F bonds. The content of fluorine was tailored to induce CaF2 bulk crystallization. Overall an increase in F was associated with an increase network connectivity. In turns it led to an increased dissolution rate which was linked to a higher cytotoxicity. Upon (partial to full) surface crystallization of the F-free glass, the bioactivity (ability to form a reactive layer) was loss and the cytotoxicity again increased due to the rapid dissolution of one crystal phase and of the remaining amorphous phase. On another hand, the controlled bulk precipitation of CaF2 crystals, in the F-containing glass, was associated with a reduced cytotoxicity. The new oxyfluorophosphate glass-ceramic developed is promising for application in the biomedical field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111269
Number of pages15
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Bioactive glass-ceramic
  • Crystallization
  • In vitro dissolution
  • Index of cytotoxicity
  • MC3T3 cells
  • Oxyfluoride bioactive phosphate glass
  • P-F bonds

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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