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Degradation, Structure and Properties of Fibrous Nonwoven Poly(Glycolic Acid) Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2011

Peter X. Ma
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, E25-342, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Robert Langer
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, E25-342, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
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Abstract

Biodegradable polymer scaffolds have been used to engineer new tissues or organs by culturing cells on them. The degradation, structure and properties of fibrous nonwoven poly(glycolic acid) (PGA) scaffolds (2 mm thick and 10 mm in diameter) were studied over 9 weeks in tissue culture medium at 37°C under mixing condition. After 3 days of in vitro culture, the mass of the scaffolds increased slightly (5.6%) due to hydration and/or adsorption, but it decreased thereafter. After 9 weeks, only 12.5% of the mass were retained. The melting point of the scaffolds decreased from 218.1°C to 186.0°C in the first 3 weeks, as measured with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). No melting peak could be identified for later times (6 weeks and 9 weeks). The crystallinity of the scaffolds doubled over the first 11 days, but decreased thereafter. The glass transition temperature of the degrading scaffolds (36–39°C) was lower than that of the dry starting scaffolds (40°C) presumably due to the plasticizing effect of absorbed water and other low molecular weight molecules. The PGA scaffolds without cells lost their structural integrity and mechanical strength completely in 2 to 3 weeks. In contrast, the neocartilage constructs regenerated from the PGA scaffolds and bovine chondrocytes kept their structural integrity throughout the in vitro culture study. After 12 weeks of in vitro culture, the biomechanical properties of the neocartilage constructs reached the same orders of magnitude as those of normal bovine cartilage.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 1995

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