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Biomaterials. 2005 Jun;26(18):3961-71.

Preparation and characterization of highly porous, biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds for soft tissue applications.

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  • 1McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 100 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA.


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 mum to more than 150 microm 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.

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