We investigated the fabrication of highly porous scaffolds made of three different materials [poly(propylene fumarate (PPF) polymer, an ultra-short single-walled carbon nanotube (US-tube) nanocomposite, and a dodecylated US-tube (F-US-tube) nanocomposite] in order to evaluate the effects of material composition and porosity on scaffold pore structure, mechanical properties, and marrow stromal cell culture. All scaffolds were produced by a thermal-crosslinking particulate-leaching technique at specific porogen contents of 75, 80, 85, and 90 vol%. Scanning electron microcopy, microcomputed tomography, and mercury intrusion porosimetry were used to analyze the pore structures of scaffolds. The porogen content was found to dictate the porosity of scaffolds. There was no significant difference in porosity, pore size, and interconnectivity among the different materials for the same porogen fraction. Nearly 100% of the pore volume was interconnected through 20 μm or larger connections for all scaffolds. While interconnectivity through larger connections improved with higher porosity, compressive mechanical properties of scaffolds declined at the same time. However, the compressive modulus, offset yield strength, and compressive strength of F-US-tube nanocomposites were higher than or similar to the corresponding properties for the PPF polymer and US-tube nanocomposites for all the porosities examined. As for in vitro osteoconductivity, marrow stromal cells demonstrated equally good cell attachment and proliferation on all scaffolds made of different materials at each porosity. These results indicate that functionalized ultra-short single-walled carbon nanotube nanocomposite scaffolds with tunable porosity and mechanical properties hold great promise for bone tissue engineering applications.
Macroporous scaffolds with controllable pore structure and mechanical properties were fabricated by a porogen fusion technique. Biodegradable material poly (d, l-lactide) (PDLLA) was used as the scaffold matrix. The effects of porogen size, PDLLA concentration and hydroxyapatite (HA) content on the scaffold morphology, porosity and mechanical properties were investigated. High porosity (90% and above) and highly interconnected structures were easily obtained and the pore size could be adjusted by varying the porogen size. With the increasing porogen size and PDLLA concentration, the porosity of scaffolds decreases, while its mechanical properties increase. The introduction of HA greatly increases the impact on pore structure, mechanical properties and water absorption ability of scaffolds, while it has comparatively little influence on its porosity under low HA contents. These results show that by adjusting processing parameters, scaffolds could afford a controllable pore size, exhibit suitable pore structure and high porosity, as well as good mechanical properties, and may serve as an excellent substrate for bone tissue engineering.
tissue engineering; composite scaffolds; mechanical property; porogen fusion technique
A novel self-crosslinkable and biodegradable macromer poly(caprolactone fumarate) (PCLF) has been developed for guided bone regeneration. This macromer is a copolymer of fumaryl chloride, which contains double bonds for in-situ crosslinking, and poly(ε-caprolactone) that has a flexible chain to facilitate self-crosslinkability. PCLF was characterized with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). Porous scaffolds were fabricated with sodium chloride particles as the porogen and a chemical initiation system. The PCLF scaffolds were characterized with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The cytotoxicity and in vivo biocompatibility of PCLF were also assessed. Our results suggest that this novel copolymer, PCLF, is an injectable, self-crosslinkable, and biocompatible macromer that may be potentially used as a scaffold for tissue engineering applications.
For tissue engineering applications, scaffolds should be porous to enable rapid nutrient and oxygen transfer while providing a three-dimensional (3D) microenvironment for the encapsulated cells. This dual characteristic can be achieved by fabrication of porous hydrogels that contain encapsulated cells. In this work, we developed a simple method that allows cell encapsulation and pore generation inside alginate hydrogels simultaneously. Gelatin beads of 150–300 μm diameter were used as a sacrificial porogen for generating pores within cell-laden hydrogels. Gelation of gelatin at low temperature (4 °C) was used to form beads without chemical crosslinking and their subsequent dissolution after cell encapsulation led to generation of pores within cell-laden hydrogels. The pore size and porosity of the scaffolds were controlled by the gelatin bead size and their volume ratio, respectively. Fabricated hydrogels were characterized for their internal microarchitecture, mechanical properties and permeability. Hydrogels exhibited a high degree of porosity with increasing gelatin bead content in contrast to nonporous alginate hydrogel. Furthermore, permeability increased by two to three orders while compressive modulus decreased with increasing porosity of the scaffolds. Application of these scaffolds for tissue engineering was tested by encapsulation of hepatocarcinoma cell line (HepG2). All the scaffolds showed similar cell viability; however, cell proliferation was enhanced under porous conditions. Furthermore, porous alginate hydrogels resulted in formation of larger spheroids and higher albumin secretion compared to nonporous conditions. These data suggest that porous alginate hydrogels may have provided a better environment for cell proliferation and albumin production. This may be due to the enhanced mass transfer of nutrients, oxygen and waste removal, which is potentially beneficial for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.
Decellularization and cellularization of organs have emerged as disruptive methods in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Porous hydrogel scaffolds have widespread applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and drug discovery as viable tissue mimics. However, the existing hydrogel fabrication techniques suffer from limited control over pore interconnectivity, density and size, which leads to inefficient nutrient and oxygen transport to cells embedded in the scaffolds. Here, we demonstrated an innovative approach to develop a new platform for tissue engineered constructs using live bacteria as sacrificial porogens. E.coli were patterned and cultured in an interconnected three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel network. The growing bacteria created interconnected micropores and microchannels. Then, the scafold was decellularized, and bacteria were eliminated from the scaffold through lysing and washing steps. This 3D porous network method combined with bioprinting has the potential to be broadly applicable and compatible with tissue specific applications allowing seeding of stem cells and other cell types.
We have developed a thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide)-based scaffold with degradability and controlled porosity. Biodegradable poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) hydrogels were synthesized by photo-copolymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide with 2-methylene-1,3-dioxepane and polycaprolactone dimethacrylate. The hydrogels’ phase transition temperature, swelling and viscoelastic properties, as well as hydrolytic degradability at 25 and 37°C, were explored. A sphere-templating technique was applied to fabricate hydrogel scaffolds with controllable pore size and a highly interconnected porous structure. The scaffold pore diameter change as a function of temperature was evaluated and, as expected, pores decreased in diameter when the temperature was raised to 37°C. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test results suggested neither the scaffolds nor their degradation products were cytotoxic to NIH3T3 cells. Scaffolds with 55±5 μm pore diameter were loaded with NIH3T3 cells and then were warmed to 37°C entrapping cells in pores approximately 39 μm in diameter, a size range we have found to be optimal for angiogenesis and biointegration. Cells showed uniform infiltration and an elongated morphology after 7 days of culture. Due to the controlled monodisperse pore diameter, highly interconnected architecture, fully degradable chemistry and thermoresponsive properties, the polyNIPAM-based scaffolds developed here are attractive for applications in tissue engineering.
poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide); thermoresponsive polymer; hydrogel; degradable polymer; tissue engineering; scaffold
The development of three-dimensional (3D) biomimetic scaffolds which provide an optimal environment for cells adhesion, proliferation and differentiation, and guide new tissue formation has been one of the major goals in tissue engineering. In this work, a processing technique has been developed to create 3D nanofibrous gelatin (NF-gelatin) scaffolds, which mimic both the physical architecture and the chemical composition of natural collagen. Gelatin matrices with nanofibrous architecture were first created by using a thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) technique. Macroporous NF-gelatin scaffolds were fabricated by combining the TIPS technique with a porogen-leaching process. The processing parameters were systematically investigated in relation to the fiber diameter, fiber length, surface area, porosity, pore size, interpore connectivity, pore wall architecture, and mechanical properties of the NF-gelatin scaffolds. The resulting NF-gelatin scaffolds possess high surface areas (>32 m2/g), high porosities (>96%), well-connected macropores, and nanofibrous pore wall structures. The technique advantageously controls macropore shape and size by paraffin spheres, interpore connectivity by assembly conditions (time and temperature of heat treatment), pore wall morphology by phase separation and post-treatment parameters, and mechanical properties by polymer concentration and crosslinking density. Compared to commercial gelatin foam (Gelfoam®), the NF-gelatin scaffold showed much better dimensional stability in a tissue culture environment. The NF-gelatin scaffolds, therefore, are excellent scaffolds for tissue engineering.
Mimicking certain features (e.g. nanoscale topography and biological cues) of natural extracellular matrix (ECM) is advantageous for the successful regeneration of damaged tissue. In this study, nanofibrous gelatin/apatite (NF-gelatin/apatite) composite scaffolds have been fabricated to mimic both the physical architecture and chemical composition of natural bone ECM. A thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) technique was developed to prepare nanofibrous gelatin (NF-gelatin) matrix. The NF-gelatin matrix mimicked natural collagen fibers and had an average fiber diameter of about 150 nm. By integrating the TIPS method with porogen leaching, three-dimensional NF-gelatin scaffolds with well-defined macropores were fabricated. In comparison to Gelfoam® (a commercial gelatin foam) with similar pore size and porosity, the NF-gelatin scaffolds exhibited a much higher surface area and mechanical strength. The surface area and compressive modulus of NF-gelatin scaffolds were more than 700 times and 10 times higher than that of Gelfoam®, respectively. The NF-gelatin scaffolds also showed excellent biocompatibility and mechanical stability. To further enhance pre-osteoblast cell differentiation as well as improving mechanical strength, bone-like apatite particles (< 2 μm) were incorporated onto the surface of NF-gelatin scaffolds via a simulated body fluid (SBF) incubation process. The NF-gelatin/apatite scaffolds showed significantly higher mechanical strength than NF-gelatin scaffolds 5 days after SBF treatment. Furthermore, the incorporated apatite in the NF-gelatin/apatite composite scaffold enhanced the ostgeogenic differentiation. The expression of BSP and OCN in the osteoblast-(NF-gelatin/apatite composite) constructs was about 5 times and 2 times higher than in the osteoblast-(NF-gelatin) constructs 4 week after cell culture. The biomimetic NF-gelatin/apatite scaffolds are, therefore, excellent for bone tissue engineering.
The transected rat thoracic (T9/10) spinal cord model is a platform for quantitatively compa0ring biodegradable polymer scaffolds. Schwann cell-loaded scaffolds constructed from poly (lactic co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), poly(ε-caprolactone fumarate) (PCLF), oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) hydrogel or positively charged OPF (OPF+) hydrogel were implanted into the model. We demonstrated that the mechanical properties (3-point bending and stiffness) of OPF and OPF+ hydrogels closely resembled rat spinal cord. After one month, tissues were harvested and analyzed by morphometry of neurofilament-stained sections at rostral, midlevel, and caudal scaffold. All polymers supported axonal growth. Significantly higher numbers of axons were found in PCLF (P < 0.01) and OPF+ (P < 0.05) groups, compared to that of the PLGA group. OPF+ polymers showed more centrally distributed axonal regeneration within the channels while other polymers (PLGA, PCLF and OPF) tended to show more evenly dispersed axons within the channels. The centralized distribution was associated with significantly more axons regenerating (P < 0.05). Volume of scar and cyst rostral and caudal to the implanted scaffold was measured and compared. There were significantly smaller cyst volumes in PLGA compared to PCLF groups. The model provides a quantitative basis for assessing individual and combined tissue engineering strategies.
OPF; PLGA; PCLF; axon regeneration; spinal cord injury; Schwann cell
Hydrogels have gained acceptance as biomaterials in a wide range of applications, including pharmaceutical formulations, drug delivery, and tissue sealants. However, exploiting the potential of hydrogels as scaffolds for cell transplantation, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine still remains a challenge due to, in part, scaffold design limitations. Here, we describe a highly interconnected, macroporous poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogel scaffold, with pores ranging from 100 to 600 μm. The scaffold exhibits rapid cell uptake and cell seeding without the need of any external force or device with high incorporation efficiency. When human mesenchymal stem cells are seeded within the porous scaffolds, the scaffolds were found to promote long-term stem cell viability, and on exposure to osteogenic medium, elicit an mineralization response as evaluated by an increased alkaline phosphatase activity (per cell) and calcium and phosphate content within the constructs. The atomic composition of the mineralized matrix was further determined by energy dispersive spectroscopy and found to be similar to calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite, the amorphous biological precursor of bone. The macroporous design of the hydrogel appears advantageous over similar porous hydrogel scaffolds with respect to ease of synthesis, ease of stem cell seeding, and its ability to support long-term stem cell survival and possible differentiation.
Tissue engineering of the small intestine remains experimental despite worldwide attempts to develop a functional substitute for short bowel syndrome. Most published studies have reported predominant use of PLLA (poly-L-lactide acid)/PGA (polyglycolic acid) copolymer as the scaffold material, and studies have been limited by in vivo experiments. This lack of progress has inspired a fresh perspective and provoked further investigation and development in this field of tissue engineering. In the present paper, we exploit a relatively new nanocomposite of POSS (polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane) and PCL [poly(caprolactone-urea)urethane] as a material to develop porous scaffolds using a solvent casting/particulate leaching technique to fabricate porous scaffolds in different pore sizes and porosities. Scaffolds were characterized for pore morphology and porosity using scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography. Rat intestinal epithelial cells were then seeded on to the polymer scaffolds for an in vitro study of cell compatibility and proliferation, which was assessed by Alamar Blue™ and lactate dehydrogenase assays performed for 21 days post-seeding. The results obtained demonstrate that POSS–PCL nanocomposite was produced as a macroporous scaffold with porosity over the range of 40–80% and pore size over the range of 150–250 μm. This scaffold was shown to support epithelial cell proliferation and growth. In conclusion, as a further step in investigating small intestinal tissue engineering, the nanocomposite employed in this study may prove to be a useful alternative to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) in the future.
intestinal epithelial cell (IEC); nanocomposite; poly(caprolactone-urea)urethane (PCL); scaffold; tissue engineering; DMAC, dimethylacetamide; FTIR, Fourier-transform infrared; IEC, intestinal epithelial cell; LDH, lactate dehydrogenase; micro-CT, micro-computed tomography; PCL, poly(caprolactone-urea)urethane; PCU, poly(carbonate-urea)urethane; PGA, polyglycolic acid; PLGA, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid); PN, parenteral; POSS, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane; SBS, short bowel syndrome; SEM, scanning electron microscopy
Current treatment of traumatic craniofacial injuries often involves early free tissue transfer, even if the recipient site is contaminated or lacks soft tissue coverage. There are no current tissue engineering strategies to definitively regenerate tissues in such an environment at an early time point. For a tissue engineering approach to be employed in the treatment of such injuries, a two-stage approach could potentially be used. The present study describes methods for fabrication, characterization, and processing of porous polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) space maintainers for temporary retention of space in bony craniofacial defects. Carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels were used as a porogen. Implants with controlled porosity and pore interconnectivity were fabricated by varying the ratio of hydrogel:polymer and the amount of carboxymethylcellulose within the hydrogel. The in vivo tissue response to the implants was observed by implanting solid, low-porosity, and high-porosity implants (n = 6) within a nonhealing rabbit mandibular defect that included an oral mucosal defect to allow open communication between the oral cavity and the mandibular defect. Oral mucosal wound healing was observed after 12 weeks and was complete in 3/6 defects filled with solid PMMA implants and 5/6 defects filled with either a low- or high-porosity PMMA implant. The tissue response around and within the pores of the two formulations of porous implants tested in vivo was characterized, with the low-porosity implants surrounded by a minimal but well-formed fibrous capsule in contrast to the high-porosity implants, which were surrounded and invaded by almost exclusively inflammatory tissue. On the basis of these results, PMMA implants with limited porosity hold promise for temporary implantation and space maintenance within clean/contaminated bone defects.
This study investigated the encapsulation of newt iris pigment epithelial cells (PECs), which have the ability to regenerate a lens by trans-differentiation in vivo, within a biodegradable hydrogel of oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) crosslinked with poly(ethylene glycol)-diacrylate. Hydrogel beads of initial diameter of 1 mm were fabricated by a molding technique. The swelling ratio and degradation rate of the hydrogel beads decreased with increasing crosslinking ratios. Confocal microscopy confirmed the cytocompatibility of crosslinking hydrogel formulations as evidenced by the viability of an encapsulated model cell line within a crosslinked hydrogel bead. Hydrogel beads encapsulating iris PECs were also implanted into lentectomized newts in vivo; histological evaluation of explants after 30 days revealed a regenerated lens, thus demonstrating that the presence of degrading hydrogel did not adversely affect lens regeneration. The results of this study suggest the potential of a method for lens regeneration involving oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) hydrogels for iris PEC encapsulation and transplantation.
The combined use of natural ECM components and synthetic materials offers an attractive alternative to fabricate hydrogel-based tissue engineering scaffolds to study cell-matrix interactions in three-dimensions (3D). A facile method was developed to modify gelatin with cysteine via a bifunctional PEG linker, thus introducing free thiol groups to gelatin chains. A covalently crosslinked gelatin hydrogel was fabricated using thiolated gelatin and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGdA) via thiol-ene reaction. Unmodified gelatin was physically incorporated in a PEGdA-only matrix for comparison. We sought to understand the effect of crosslinking modality on hydrogel physicochemical properties and the impact on 3D cell entrapment. Compared to physically incorporated gelatin hydrogels, covalently crosslinked gelatin hydrogels displayed higher maximum weight swelling ratio (Qmax), higher water content, significantly lower cumulative gelatin dissolution up to 7 days, and lower gel stiffness. Furthermore, fibroblasts encapsulated within covalently crosslinked gelatin hydrogels showed extensive cytoplasmic spreading and the formation of cellular networks over 28 days. In contrast, fibroblasts encapsulated in the physically incorporated gelatin hydrogels remained spheroidal. Hence, crosslinking ECM protein with synthetic matrix creates a stable scaffold with tunable mechanical properties and with long-term cell anchorage points, thus supporting cell attachment and growth in the 3D environment.
ECM protein; crosslinking modality; gelatin; PEG; 3D cell entrapment
It is now recognized that geometric structures of scaffolds at several size levels have profound influences on cell adhesion, viability, proliferation and differentiation. This study aims to develop an integrated process to fabricate scaffolds with controllable geometric structures at nano-, micro- and macro-scales. A phase separation method is used to prepare interconnected poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) nanofibrous (NF) scaffolds. The pore size of the NF scaffold at the scale of several hundred micrometers is controlled by the size of porogen, paraffin spheres. At millimeter scale and above, the overall shape of the scaffold is defined by a wax mold produced using a three-dimensional printer. The printer utilizes a stereo lithographic file generated from computed tomographic files retrieved from the National Library of Medicine's Visual Human Project. NF PLLA scaffolds with a human digit shape are successfully prepared using this process. Osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 cells are then seeded and cultured in the prepared scaffolds. Cell proliferation, differentiation and biomineralization are characterized to demonstrate the suitability of the scaffolds for the digit bone tissue engineering application.
Few options exist to replace or repair damaged articular cartilage. The optimal solution that has been suggested is a scaffold that can carry load and integrate with surrounding tissues; but such a construct has thus far been elusive. The objectives of this study were to manufacture and characterize a non-degradable hydrated scaffold. Our hypothesis was that the polymer content of the scaffold can be used to control its mechanical properties, while an internal porous network augmented with biological agents can facilitate integration with the host tissue. Using a two-step water-in-oil emulsion process a porous poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel scaffold combined with alginate microspheres was manufactured. The scaffold had a porosity of 11–30% with pore diameters of 107–187 μm, which readily allowed for movement of cells through the scaffold. Alginate microparticles were evenly distributed through the scaffold and allowed for the slow release of biological factors. The elastic modulus (Es) and Poisson’s ratio (υ), Aggregate modulus (Ha) and dynamic modulus (ED) of the scaffold were significantly affected by % PVA, as it varied from 10% to 20% wt/vol. Es and υ were similar to that of articular cartilage for both polymer concentrations, while Ha and ED were similar to that of cartilage only at 20% PVA. The ability to control scaffold mechanical properties, while facilitating cellular migration suggest that this scaffold is a potentially viable candidate for the functional replacement of cartilage defects.
Solvent/non-solvent sintering creates porous polymeric microsphere scaffolds suitable for tissue engineering purposes with control over the resulting porosity, average pore diameter and mechanical properties. Five different biodegradable biocompatible polyphosphazenes exhibiting glass transition temperatures from −8°C to 41oC and poly(lactide-co-glycolide), (PLAGA) a degradable polymer used in a number of biomedical settings, were examined to study the versatility of the process and benchmark the process to heat sintering. Parameters such as: solvent/non-solvent sintering solution composition and submersion time effect the sintering process. PLAGA microsphere scaffolds fabricated with solvent/non-solvent sintering exhibited an interconnected porosity and pore size of 31.9% and 179.1µm respectively which was analogous to that of conventional heat sintered PLAGA microsphere scaffolds. Biodegradable polyphosphazene microsphere scaffolds exhibited a maximum interconnected porosity of 37.6% and a maximum compressive modulus of 94.3MPa. Solvent/non-solvent sintering is an effective strategy for sintering polymeric microspheres, with a broad spectrum of glass transition temperatures, under ambient conditions making it an excellent fabrication route for developing tissue engineering scaffolds and drug delivery vehicles.
Polyphosphazene; Sintered microspheres; Poly(lactide-co-glycolide); Scaffolds; Tissue engineering
Biodegradable polyurethanes have found widespread use in soft tissue engineering due to their suitable mechanical properties and biocompatibility.
In this study, polyurethane samples were synthesized from polycaprolactone, hexamethylene diisocyanate, and a copolymer of 1,4-butanediol as a chain extender. Polyurethane scaffolds were fabricated by a combination of liquid–liquid phase separation and salt leaching techniques. The effect of the NCO:OH ratio on porosity content and pore morphology was investigated.
Scanning electron micrographs demonstrated that the scaffolds had a regular distribution of interconnected pores, with pore diameters of 50–300 μm, and porosities of 64%–83%. It was observed that, by increasing the NCO:OH ratio, the average pore size, compressive strength, and compressive modulus increased. L929 fibroblast and chondrocytes were cultured on the scaffolds, and all samples exhibited suitable cell attachment and growth, with a high level of biocompatibility.
These biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds demonstrate potential for soft tissue engineering applications.
polyurethane; tissue engineering; biodegradable; fibroblast cells
In an effort of achieving suitable biomaterials for peripheral nerve regeneration, we present a material design strategy of combining a crystallite-based physical network and a crosslink-based chemical network. Biodegradable polymer disks and conduits have been fabricated by photo-crosslinking three poly(ε-caprolactone fumarate)s (PCLF530, PCLF1250, and PCLF2000), which were synthesized from the precursor poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) diols with nominal molecular weights of 530, 1250, and 2000 g.mol−1, respectively. Thermal properties such as glass transition temperature (Tg), melting temperature (Tm), and crystallinity of photo-crosslinked PCLFs were examined and correlated with their rheological and mechanical properties. Furthermore, in vitro degradation of uncrosslinked and crosslinked PCLFs in PBS crosslinked PCLFs in 1 N NaOH aqueous solution at 37 °C was studied. In vitro cytocompatibility, attachment, and proliferation of Schwann cell precursor line SPL201 cells on three PCLF networks were investigated. Crosslinked PCLF2000 with the highest crystallinity and mechanical properties was found to best support cell attachment and proliferation. Using a new photo-crosslinking method, single-lumen crosslinked PCLF nerve conduits without defects were fabricated in a glass mold. Crosslinked PCLF2000 nerve conduits were selected for evaluation in a 1-cm gap rat sciatic nerve model. Histological evaluation demonstrated that the material was biocompatible with sufficient strength to hold sutures in place after 6 and 17 weeks of implantation. Nerve cable with myelinated axons was found in the crosslinked PCLF2000 nerve conduit.
Poly(ε-caprolactone fumarate); Photo-crosslinking; Peripheral nerve regeneration; Cell responses
We present enhanced cell ingrowth and proliferation through crosslinked three-dimensional (3D) nanocomposite scaffolds fabricated using poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) and hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles. Scaffolds with controlled internal pore structures were produced from computer-aided design (CAD) models and solid freeform fabrication (SFF) technique, while those with random pore structures were fabricated by NaCl leaching technique for comparison. The morphology and mechanical properties of scaffolds were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and mechanical testing, respectively. Pore interconnectivity of scaffolds was assessed using X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and 3D imaging analysis. In vitro cell studies have been performed using MC3T3-E1 mouse preosteoblasts and cultured scaffolds in a rotating-wall-vessel bioreactor for 4 and 7 days to assess cell attachment, viability, ingrowth depth, and proliferation. The mechanical properties of crosslinked nanocomposite scaffolds were not significantly different after adding HA or varying pore structures. However, pore interconnectivity of PPF/HA nanocomposite scaffolds with controlled pore structures has been significantly increased, resulting in enhanced cell ingrowth depth 7 days after cell seeding. Cell attachment and proliferation are also higher in PPF/HA nanocomposite scaffolds. These results suggest that crosslinked PPF/HA nanocomposite scaffolds with controlled pore structures may lead to promising bone tissue engineering scaffolds with excellent cell proliferation and ingrowth.
Poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF); Hydroxyapatite (HA); Nanocomposite; Solid freeform fabrication (SFF); Pre-osteoblast responses
In the engineering of soft tissues, scaffolds with high elastance and strength coupled with controllable biodegradable properties are necessary. To fulfill such design criteria we have previously synthesized two kinds of biodegradable polyurethaneureas, namely poly(ester urethane)urea (PEUU) and poly(ether ester urethane)urea (PEEUU) from polycaprolactone, polycaprolactone-b-polyethylene glycol-b-polycaprolactone, 1,4-diisocyanatobutane and putrescine. PEUU and PEEUU were further fabricated into scaffolds by thermally induced phase separation using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent. The effect of polymer solution concentration, quenching temperature and polymer type on pore morphology and porosity was investigated. Scaffolds were obtained with open and interconnected pores having sizes ranging from several μm to more than 150 μm and porosities of 80–97%. By changing the polymer solution concentration or quenching temperature, scaffolds with random or oriented tubular pores could be obtained. The PEUU scaffolds were flexible with breaking strains of 214% and higher, and tensile strengths of approximately 1.0 MPa, whereas the PEEUU scaffolds generally had lower strengths and breaking strains. Scaffold degradation in aqueous buffer was related to the porosity and polymer hydrophilicity. Smooth muscle cells were filtration seeded in the scaffolds and it was shown that both scaffolds supported cell adhesion and growth, with smooth muscle cells growing more extensively in the PEEUU scaffold. These biodegradable and flexible scaffolds demonstrate potential for future application as cell scaffolds in cardiovascular tissue engineering or other soft tissue applications.
Biodegradation; Polyurethane; Scaffold; Thermally induced phase separation
The most promising approach in Tissue Engineering involves the seeding of porous, biocompatible/biodegradable scaffolds, with donor cells to promote tissue regeneration.
Additive biomanufacturing processes are increasingly recognized as ideal techniques to produce 3D structures with optimal pore size and spatial distribution, providing an adequate mechanical support for tissue regeneration while shaping in-growing tissues. This paper presents a novel extrusion-based system to produce 3D scaffolds with controlled internal/external geometry for TE applications.The BioExtruder is a low-cost system that uses a proper fabrication code based on the ISO programming language enabling the fabrication of multimaterial scaffolds. Poly(ε-caprolactone) was the material chosen to produce porous scaffolds, made by layers of directionally aligned microfilaments. Chemical, morphological, and in vitro biological evaluation performed on the polymeric constructs revealed a high potential of the BioExtruder to produce 3D scaffolds with regular and reproducible macropore architecture, without inducing relevant chemical and biocompatibility alterations of the material.
Integrating an advanced manufacturing technique, nanocomposite material and controlled delivery of growth factor to form multifunctional tissue engineering scaffolds was investigated in this study. Based on calcium phosphate (Ca–P)/poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) nanocomposite microspheres, three-dimensional Ca–P/PHBV nanocomposite scaffolds with customized architecture, controlled porosity and totally interconnected porous structure were successfully fabricated using selective laser sintering (SLS), one of the rapid prototyping technologies. The cytocompatibility of sintered Ca–P/PHBV nanocomposite scaffolds, as well as PHBV polymer scaffolds, was studied. For surface modification of nanocomposite scaffolds, gelatin was firstly physically entrapped onto the scaffold surface and heparin was subsequently immobilized on entrapped gelatin. The surface-modification improved the wettability of scaffolds and provided specific binding site between conjugated heparin and the growth factor recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2). The surface-modified Ca–P/PHBV nanocomposite scaffolds loaded with rhBMP-2 significantly enhanced the alkaline phosphatase activity and osteogenic differentiation markers in gene expression of C3H10T1/2 mesenchymal stem cells. Together with osteoconductive nanocomposite material and controlled growth factor delivery strategies, the use of SLS technique to form complex scaffolds will provide a promising route towards individualized bone tissue regeneration.
nanocomposite; scaffold; selective laser sintering; surface modification; bone tissue engineering
This study describes investigation of porous photocrosslinked oligo[(polyethylene glycol) fumarate] (OPF) hydrogels as potential matrix for osteoblastic differentiation of marrow stromal cells (MSCs). The porosity and interconnectivity of porous hydrogels were assessed using magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) as a noninvasive investigative tool that could image the water construct inside the hydrogels at a high spatial resolution. MSCs were cultured onto the porous hydrogels and cell number was assessed using PicoGreen DNA assay. Our results showed 10% of cells initially attached to the surface of scaffolds. However, cells did not show significant proliferation over a time period of 14 days. MSCs cultured on porous hydrogels had increased alkaline phosphatase activity as well as deposition of calcium, suggesting successful differentiation and maturation to the osteoblastic phenotype. Moreover, continued expression of type I collagen and osteonectin over 14 days confirmed osteoblastic differentiation of MSCs. MRM was also applied to monitor osteogenesis of MSCs on porous hydrogels. MRM images showed porous scaffolds became consolidated with osteogenic progression of cell differentiation. These findings indicate that porous OPF scaffolds enhanced MSC differentiation leading to development of bone-like mineralized tissue.
Hydrogel; oligo[(polyethylene glycol) fumarate] (OPF); Marrow stromal cells; Magnetic resonance microscopy; Osteogenesis
Background and the purpose of the study
Biodegradable Poly(caprolactone fumarate) (PCLF) has been used as bioresorbable sutures. In this study, doxorubicin HCl (Dox) loaded PCLF nanoparticles were prepared and characterized.
Material and methods
PCLFs were synthesized by polycondensation of PCL diols (Mws of 530, 1250 and 2000) with fumaryl chloride. The degradation of PCLF in NaOH, water and phosphate buffer saline (PBS), was determined in terms of changes in Mw. Nanoparticles (NPs) were prepared by two methods. In microemulsion polymerization method, dichloromethane containing PCLF and photoinitiator were combined with the water containing surfactants and then the mixture was placed under light for crosslinking. In nanoprecipitation method, the organic solvent containing PCLF was poured into the stirring water. The effect of several variables including concentration of PCLF, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), Dox and Trypan blue (Trb) and the Mw of PCLF and PVA on NP size and loading were evaluated.
PCLF 530, 1250 and 2000 in PBS or water were not degraded over 28 days. Nanoprecipitaion method gave spherical (revealed by SEM images) stable NPs of about 225 with narrow size distribution and a zeta potential of −43 mV. The size of NP increased significantly by increase in Mw or concentration of PCLF. Although PVA was not necessary for formation of NPs, but it decreased with NP size. Dox loading and EE were 2.5–6.8% and 15–20%, respectively. Increasing the drug concentration increased the drug loading (DL) and NP size. The entrapment efficiency (EE) for Trb ranged from 1% for PCLF530 to 6% for PCLF2000. An increase in PCLF concentration resulted in an increase in EE. Dox and Trb release showed a burst followed by 80% and 78% release during 3 and 4 days respectively.
PCLF possessed suitable characteristics for preparation of nanoparticulate drug delivery system such as desired NP size, stability and degradation time. Although PCLF530 NPs were the smallest, but their DL were lower than PCLF1250 and 2000 NPs.
PCLF nanoparticles; Copolymer molecular weight; Nanoprecipitation method