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Biomacromolecules. 2007 Apr;8(4):1077-84. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

Poly(propylene fumarate) bone tissue engineering scaffold fabrication using stereolithography: effects of resin formulations and laser parameters.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Stereolithography using photo-cross-linkable polymeric biomaterials is an effective technique for fabricating highly complex three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds with controlled microstructures for tissue engineering applications. In this study, we have optimized the UV curable polymer solution composition and laser parameters for the stereolithography machine. Poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) was used as the biomaterial, diethyl fumarate (DEF) was used as the solvent, and bisacrylphosphrine oxide (BAPO) was used as the photoinitiator. Three different weight ratios of PPF/DEF and BAPO contents were characterized by measuring the viscosities and thermal properties of the un-cross-linked solutions and the mechanical properties of the formed scaffolds. After optimizing the resin composition by satisfying both the viscosity limitation and the mechanical requirement, laser parameters such as critical exposure (Ec) and penetration depth (Dp) were determined from the working curve and the relationship between laser speed and energy by measuring the thickness of predesigned windows fabricated in stereolithography with different ranges of Ec and Dp. Three-dimensional scaffolds with various pore sizes, pore shapes, and porosities were designed in computer-aided design (CAD) software and were fabricated in stereolithography. The fabricated scaffolds were characterized by measuring external dimensions, porosities, mean pore sizes, and compressive moduli and were compared to the CAD models. Feature accuracy in the xy-plane was achieved and overcuring of the resin in z-axis was minimized. The stereolithographically fabricated scaffolds with controlled microstructures can be useful in diverse tissue engineering applications.

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