Improving pore interconnectivity in polymeric scaffolds for tissue engineering
A new scaffold fabrication technique aiming to enhance pore interconnectivity for tissue engineering has been developed. Medical grade poly(lactic acid) was utilized to generate scaffolds by a solvent-evaporating/particulate-leaching technique, using a new dual-porogen system. Water-soluble sodium chloride particles were used to control macro-pore size in the range 106-255 microm, while organic naphthalene was utilized as a porogen to increase pore interconnections. The three-dimensional (3D) morphology of the scaffolds manufactured with and without naphthalene was examined by optical coherence tomography and scanning electron microscopy. The mechanical properties of the scaffolds were characterized by compression tests. MG63 osteoblast cells were seeded in the scaffolds to study the cell attachment and viability evaluated by confocal microscopy. It was revealed that introducing naphthalene as the second porogen in the solvent-evaporating/particulate-leaching process resulted in improvement of the pore interconnectivity. Cells grew in both scaffolds fabricated with and without naphthalene. They exhibited strong green fluorescence when using a live/dead fluorescent dye kit, indicating that the naphthalene in the scaffold process did not affect cell viability.
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