Available online 11 January 2023
The rapid degradation of magnesium (Mg)-based implants in physiological environment limits its clinical applications, and alloying treatment is an effective way to regulate the degradation rate of Mg-based materials. In the present study, three Mg alloys, including Mg-0.8Ca (denoted as ZQ), Mg-0.8Ca-5Zn-1.5Ag (denoted as ZQ71) and Mg-0.8Ca-5Zn-2.5Ag (denoted as ZQ63), were fabricated by alloying with calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn) and silver (Ag). The results obtained from electrochemical corrosion tests and in vitro degradation evaluation demonstrated that the three Mg alloys exhibited distinct corrosion resistance, and ZQ71 exhibited the lowest degradation rate in vitro among them. After addition of Zn and Ag, the antibacterial potential of Mg alloys was also enhanced. The in vitro cell experiments showed that all the three Mg alloys had good biocompatibility. After implantation in a rat femoral defect, ZQ71 showed significantly higher osteogenic activity and bone substitution rate than ZQ63 and ZQ, due to its higher corrosion resistance as well as the stimulatory effects of the released metallic ions. In addition, the average daily degradation rate of each Mg alloy in vivo was significantly higher than that in vitro, as could be due to the implantation site located in the highly vascularized trabecular region. Importantly, the correlations between the in vitro and in vivo degradation parameters of the Mg alloys were systematically analyzed to find out the potential predictors of the in vivo degradation performance of the materials. The current work not only evaluated the clinical potential of the three biodegradable Mg alloys as bone grafts but also provided a feasible approach for predicting the in vivo degradation behavior of biodegradable materials.