- 9:42 AM

Multifunctional Tissue Engineering Scaffolds Via Organic Sol-Gel Chemistry

Hugh Lippincott1, Poonam Borgaonkar2, Sachin Sharma2, Ming Chen3, Sankha Bhowmick3, and Daniel F. Schmidt2. (1) Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, (2) Plastics Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, (3) Mechanical Engineering / Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology Program, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747

The need for multifunctional tissue engineering scaffolds with well-defined structure-composition-properties relations cannot be underestimated. Current methodologies for producing scaffolds generally involve attempts to produce pore structures appropriate for the applications in mind in a limited range of compositions. While effective, it is difficult to prepare materials with arbitrary chemistries or independently vary composition and structure via most of these techniques, making the establishment of structure-composition-properties relations difficult.

We present a new approach that attempts to address some of these issues through the application of organic sol-gel chemistry. Here, materials are prepared via polymer network formation in solution, with polymerization-induced phase-separation giving rise to fully open, interconnected pore networks. Both polyester and polyurethane chemistries are explored, with materials analyzed via mercury intrusion porosimetry, scanning electron microscopy, dynamic mechanical analysis and cell culture studies with NIH 3T3 mouse fibroblasts.

First, we briefly review our past work to show that porous polymer networks with a range of compositions may be produced via this technique, pore size and porosity may be varied independent of composition, and cytocompatibility may be achieved with an appropriate combination of structure and composition [1]. Second, we demonstrate that the cytocompatible pore structures of natural porous bodies may be replicated in our sol-gel systems via a modified replamineform process [2]. Finally, we show that useful shape-memory characteristics and therapeutic agents may be incorporated into these scaffolds via appropriate compositional choices. In sum, we believe that this approach may be promising as a simple and versatile means of producing multifunctional tissue engineering scaffolds and better understanding their performance.

1. ‘A Flexible Approach to the Preparation of Polymer Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering', P. Borgaonkar, S. Sharma, M. Chen, S. Bhowmick, D. F. Schmidt, Macromolecular Biosciences, 7, 2, 2007, 201-207.

2. ‘Carbonate Minerals as Precursors of New Ceramic, Metal, and Polymer Materials for Biomedical Applications', J. N. Weber, E. W. White, Minerals Science and Engineering, 5, 2, 1973, 151-165.