Osteomyelitis is a potentially devastating inflammatory bone disease that leads to bone destruction and loss. Treatment of osteomyelitis requires the removal of residual bacteria as well as osteogenesis with angiogenesis at the site of treatment. Use of an appropriate amount of copper (Cu) in treatment scaffolds may achieve these goals without the risk of toxicity. In this study, the surface of the carbonate apatite honeycomb scaffold was functionalized with Cu through a dissolution–precipitation reaction. The resulting scaffolds retained the honeycomb structure after immersion in CuCl2 solution, and Cu was precipitated on the surface as libethenite [Cu2(OH)PO4]. The surface Cu concentration was controlled by the concentration of the CuCl2 solution. Scaffolds with a surface Cu concentration of 23.8 wt% exhibited antibacterial and cytotoxic effects, whereas those with concentrations of ≤4.6 wt% exerted antibacterial effects without negatively affecting the cellular adhesion, proliferation, differentiation, and calcification of osteoblast-like cells. Furthermore, scaffolds with a surface Cu concentration of 4.6 wt% Cu inhibited bacterial growth for at least 28 days and displayed proangiogenic and pro-osteogenic activities in vivo. These data confirm the success in functionalizing scaffolds with Cu that may be utilized as an innovative osteomyelitis therapy.
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