Building mesostructured biomaterials is a challenging and exciting task that has attracted much attention because of their use as drug carriers or drug delivery systems. In the case of bioactive materials, the mesostructuration can also deeply impact their physico-chemical properties and the reactivity. In this study, we show how highly ordered mesoporosity influences the early steps of the biomineralization process and the reactivity in binary (SiO2–CaO) and ternary (SiO2–CaO–P2O5) bioactive glasses. Conventional porous sol–gel glasses were synthesized using a classical route, while mesostructured glasses were developed using a non-ionic surfactant. Textural properties of these materials have been characterized. The in vitro biomineralization process was followed, using Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) associated to Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS), which are efficient methods for a highly sensitive multi-elemental analysis. Elemental maps of silicon, calcium and phosphorus were obtained at a micrometer scale and revealed for the first time a bulk reactivity for mesostructured glasses. This is a major advantage over conventional glasses, for which the first steps of biomineralization are limited to the periphery of the material. Their enhanced bioactivity combined with their possible use as drug-delivery systems make them promising candidates for bone regeneration.
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