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Keywords:

  • tissue engineering;
  • biodegradable polymers;
  • scaffolds;
  • cell attachment;
  • poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)

Abstract

In the present study, a mixture of ammonium-bicarbonate (NH4HCO3) and sodium-chloride (NaCl) particles was used as a porogen additive to fabricate highly macroporous biodegradable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds. A two-step salt-leaching process was performed after the sample had become semisolidified. Compared to the standard solvent-casting/particulate-leaching (SC/PL) technique, the processing time of this approach was significantly shorter: Instead of several days, only half a day was required. In addition, the polymer/salts/solvent mixture can be easily handled and molded into scaffolds of any specific shape—for example, thin sheet, cylindrical, or bone-shaped—for special applications in tissue engineering. Our results demonstrate that these scaffolds have a highly interconnected open-pore structure as well as greater mechanical properties than those made using the standard SC/PL technique. Primary rat osteoblasts seeded into the scaffolds exhibited good seeding efficiency. The method presented here is a promising approach for fabricating scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res (Appl Biomater) 62:271–279, 2002