Investigation of polycaprolactone for bone tissue engineering scaffolds: in vitro degradation and biological studies

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Abstract

Polycaprolactone (PCL) is one of the most recognized polymeric materials used for bone tissue engineering scaffold fabrication. This study aims to evaluate the effects of the molecular weight (Mn) of PCL on the degradation kinematics, surface, microstructural, thermal, mechanical, and biological properties of 3D printed bone scaffolds. Surface properties were investigated considering water-in-air contact angle and nanoindentation tests, while morphological characteristics and degradation kinematics (accelerated degradation tests) were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), pairing with thermal and mechanical properties monitored at each considered time point. A set of mathematical equations describing the variation of fiber diameter, porosity, mechanical properties, and weight, as a function of molecular weight and degradation time, were obtained based on the experimental results. Human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) proliferation and differentiation tests were also conducted using in vitro colorimetric assay. All results indicated that molecular weight had impacts on the surface, mechanical and biological properties of PCL scaffolds, while no significant effects were observed on the degradation rate. Scaffolds with lower molecular weight presented better bio-mechanical properties. These findings provide useful information for the design of polymeric bone tissue engineering scaffolds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110582
JournalMaterials & Design
Early online date26 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2022

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