Application of an elastic biodegradable poly(L-lactide-co-epsilon-caprolactone) scaffold for cartilage tissue regeneration

Youngmee Jung, Soo Hyun Kim, Hee Jin You, Sang-Heon Kim, Young Ha Kim, Byoung Goo Min
Journal of Biomaterials Science. Polymer Edition 2008, 19 (8): 1073-85
In cartilage tissue regeneration, it is important that an implant inserted into a defect site can maintain its mechanical integrity and endure stress loads from the body, in addition to being biocompatible and able to induce tissue growth. These factors are crucial in the design of scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering. We developed an elastic biodegradable scaffold from poly(L-lactideco-epsilon-caprolactone) (PLCL) for application in cartilage treatment. Biodegradable PLCL co-polymer was synthesized from L-lactide and epsilon-caprolactone in the presence of stannous octoate as a catalyst. A highly elastic PLCL scaffold was fabricated by a gel-pressing method with 80% porosity and 300-500 microm pore size. The tensile mechanical and recovery tests were performed in order to examine mechanical and elastic properties of the PLCL scaffold. They could be easily twisted and bent and exhibited almost complete (over 94%) recoverable extension up to breaking point. For examining cartilaginous tissue formation, rabbit chondrocytes were seeded on scaffolds. They were then cultured in vitro for 5 weeks or implanted in nude mice subcutaneously. From in vitro and in vivo tests, the accumulation of extracellular matrix on the constructs showed that chondrogenic differentiation was sustained onto PLCL scaffolds. Histological analysis showed that cells onto PLCL scaffolds formed mature and well-developed cartilaginous tissue, as evidenced by chondrocytes within lacunae. From these results, we are confident that elastic PLCL scaffolds exhibit biocompatibility and as such would provide an environment where cartilage tissue growth is enhanced and facilitated.

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