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Keywords:

  • adipose tissue;
  • stem cells;
  • bone regeneration;
  • PETA;
  • scaffold

Bone tissue engineering approaches using polymer/ceramic composites show promise as effective biocompatible, absorbable, and osteoinductive materials. A novel class of in situ polymerizing thiol-acrylate based copolymers synthesized via an amine-catalyzed Michael addition was studied for its potential to be used in bone defect repair. Both pentaerythritol triacrylate-co-trimethylolpropane tris(3-mercaptopropionate) (PETA-co-TMPTMP) and PETA-co-TMPTMP with hydroxyapatite (HA) composites were fabricated in solid cast and foamed forms. These materials were characterized chemically and mechanically followed by an in vitro evaluation of the biocompatibility and chemical stability in conjunction with human adipose-derived mesenchymal pluripotent stem cells (hASC). The solid PETA-co-TMPTMP with and without HA exhibited compressive strength in the range of 7–20 MPa, while the cytotoxicity and biocompatibility results demonstrate higher metabolic activity of hASC on PETA-co-TMPTMP than on a polycaprolactone control. Scanning electron microscope imaging of hASC show expected spindle shaped morphology when adhered to copolymer. Micro-CT analysis indicates open cell interconnected pores. Foamed PETA-co-TMPTMP HA composite shows promise as an alternative to FDA-approved biopolymers for bone tissue engineering applications. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 101A: 3531–3541, 2013.