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Acta Biomater. 2007 Jul;3(4):531-40. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

In vitro and in vivo degradability and cytocompatibility of poly(l-lactic acid) scaffold fabricated by a gelatin particle leaching method.

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Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Key Laboratory of Macromolecule Synthesis and Functionalization, Ministry of Education, Hangzhou 310027, China.


Porous poly(l-lactic acid) (PLLA) scaffolds fabricated by a gelatin particle-leaching technique have good mechanical property and cytocompatibility, as demonstrated by a previous in vitro study. Here we investigate further the in vitro degradation of the scaffolds in terms of weight loss, water uptake, weight-average molecular weight, thermal behavior and morphology during a 39 week period in phosphate-buffered saline. The water uptake decreased dramatically during the initial stage due to release of the remaining gelatin, and then increased slightly with degradation time. The weight-average molecular weight decreased linearly as a function of time, while the crystallinity steadily increased with slightly decreased melting temperature. After degradation, many defects and big holes were seen in the scaffolds by scanning electron microscopy. Cartilage regeneration and scaffold disappearance in vivo were compared by implanting the construct into nude mice for 30-120 days. While the scaffolds maintained their intact pore structure after 23 weeks of degradation in vitro, they almost disappeared in vivo at the same time, implying a faster degradation rate in vivo. By 120 days after implantation, the scaffolds were hardly seen in the newly formed cartilage-like tissue. The regenerated cartilages could not maintain their predesigned shape after a long period of in vivo culture due to the weakening of the mechanical strength of the constructs as a result of PLLA degradation. The regions occupied initially by PLLA scaffold were filled later by collagen type II secreted by the chondrocytes, but with no evident basophilic proteoglycan.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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