Influence of the macro and micro-porous structure on the mechanical behavior of poly(L-lactic acid) scaffolds.

Autores UPV


The development of macroporous biodegradable polymeric materials with three-dimensional pore structure is an important research field in tissue engineering. Structural scaffolds not only provide the cells with a mechanical support, but also perform an interactive physico-chemical role in tissue regeneration, thus it becomes important to be able to tune their mechanical properties to deliver appropriate mechanical signals to adhered cells for proper tissue regeneration. This work presents two series of poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) scaffolds in which we modulated the mechanical properties by systematically changing two synthesis parameters: polymer/solvent ratio and polymer-solution/porogen percentage. The peculiarity of the constructs is the presence of a double porosity: micropores generated by dioxane solvent using a freeze extraction technique and macropores produced by the leaching of macroporogen spheres. An increase in the PLLA/dioxane ratio decreases the micropores size and also influences to some extent the macropores size, due to the ability of dioxane to swell macroporogen particles. On the other hand, an increase in the amount of macroporogen increases the porosity by increasing the dimension of pore the throats connecting the macropores. Consequently, the increase in the PLLA/dioxane ratio produces a significant decrease in the permeability, and an increase in the apparent compression Young's modulus and aggregate modulus. When increasing the amount of macroporogen the permeability significantly increases and a decrease in the mechanical properties of the scaffolds is observed. Summarizing, with a systematic change of two fabrication parameters (amount of dioxane and macroporogen) the structural characteristics of the scaffolds were modulated and thereby their mechanical and transport properties were controlled.