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Effects of porosity and pore size on in vitro degradation of three-dimensional porous poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) scaffolds for tissue engineering

Authors

  • Linbo Wu,

    1. Key Laboratory of Molecular Engineering of Polymers, Department of Macromolecular Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering (Polymer Reaction Engineering Branch), Institute of Polymer Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China
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  • Jiandong Ding

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Molecular Engineering of Polymers, Department of Macromolecular Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China
    • Key Laboratory of Molecular Engineering of Polymers, Department of Macromolecular Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China
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Abstract

In vitro degradation of seven three-dimensional porous scaffolds composed of PLGA85/15, a very useful poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide), was performed in phosphate-buffered saline solution at 37°C up to 26 weeks, and effects of porosity (80–95%) and pore size (50–450 μm) on the degradation of the scaffolds were investigated. A series of quantities were measured during the degradation processes: molecular weight and its distribution of PLGA; compressive strength and modulus; and weight, dimension, and porosity of scaffolds. In all of cases with different pore morphologies, the degradation processes obeyed a three-stage model. Scaffolds with a higher porosity or a smaller pore size degraded more slowly than and thus outlasted those with a lower porosity or a larger pore size. The effects are both attributed to a wall effect and a surface area effect because the scaffolds with lower porosities or larger pores possess thicker pore walls and smaller surface area, which depress the diffusion of acidic degradation products and thus results in a stronger acid-catalyzed hydrolysis. This work suggests that, in designing a tissue-engineering scaffold composed of PLGA and adjusting its degradation rate, the effects of pore morphologies should be taken into consideration in addition to those of chemical composition and condensed state of raw materials. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res, 2005

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