Can strontium replace calcium in bioactive materials for dental applications?

Lauter Eston Pelepenko, Marina Angelica Marciano, Tamires Melo Francati, Gabriela Bombarda, Thiago Bessa Marconato Antunes, Francois Sorrentino, Richard A. Martin, Elisa Boanini, Paul Roy Cooper, Richard Michael Shelton, Josette Camilleri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The substitution of calcium with strontium in bioactive materials has been promising but there has been some concern over the material instability and possible toxicity. The aim of this research was the synthesis and characterization of calcium and strontium substituted bioactive materials and assessment of interactions with local tissues and peripheral elemental migration in an animal model. A bioactive glass, hydroxyapatite and hydraulic calcium silicate with 50% or 100% calcium substitution with strontium were developed and the set materials were characterized immediately after setting and after 30 and 180‐days in solution. Following subcutaneous implantation, the local (tissue histology, elemental migration) and systemic effects (elemental deposition after organ digestion) were assessed. The strontium‐replaced silicate cements resulted in the synthesis of partially substituted phases and strontium leaching at all‐time points. The strontium silicate implanted in the animal model could not be retrieved in over half of the specimens showing the high rate of material digestion. Tissue histology showed that all materials caused inflammation after 30 days of implantation however this subsided and angiogenesis occurred after 180 days. Strontium was not detected in the local tissues or the peripheral organs while all calcium containing materials caused calcium deposition in the kidneys. The tricalcium silicate caused elemental migration of calcium and silicon in the local tissues shown by the elemental mapping but no deposition of calcium was identified in the peripheral organs verified by the assessment of the digested tissues. Strontium can substitute calcium in bioactive materials without adverse local or systemic effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1892-1911
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A
Issue number12
Early online date30 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


  • bioactivity
  • calcium‐based materials
  • elemental migration
  • strontium‐doping


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