PLGA/PEG-hydrogel composite scaffolds with controllable mechanical properties


  • How to cite this article: Rahman CV, Kuhn G, White LJ, Kirby Giles T. S., Varghese OP, McLaren JS, Cox HC, Rose Felicity R. A. J., Müller R, Hilborn J, Shakesheff KM. 2013. PLGA/PEG-hydrogel composite scaffolds with controllable mechanical properties. J Biomed Mater Res Part B 2013:101B:648–655.


Biodegradable polymer scaffolds have great potential for regenerative medicine applications such as the repair of musculoskeletal tissues. Here, we describe the development of scaffolds that blend hydrogel components with thermoplastic materials, combining the unique properties of both components to create mouldable formulations. This study focuses on the structural and mechanical properties of the composite scaffolds, produced by combining temperature-sensitive poly(DL-lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)/poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) particles with a hydrogel component [Pluronic F127, fibrin or hyaluronic acid (HyA)]. The composite formulations solidified over time at 37°C, with a significant increase (p ≤ 0.05) in compressive strength observed from 15 min to 2 h at this temperature. The maximum compressive strength was 1.2 MPa for PLGA/PEG-Pluronic F127 scaffolds, 2.4 MPa for PLGA/PEG-HyA scaffolds and 0.6 MPa for PLGA/PEG-fibrin scaffolds. Porosity for each of the PLGA/PEG-hydrogel formulations tested was between 50 and 51%. This study illustrates the ability to combine this thermoplastic PLGA/PEG system with hydrogels to fabricate composite scaffolds, and demonstrates that altering the particle to hydrogel ratio produces scaffolds with varying mechanical properties. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2013.