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Keywords:

  • Polycaprolactone;
  • Bone scaffolds;
  • Solvent casting/particulate leaching method;
  • Polymer leaching method;
  • Dual leaching method

Abstract

Sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were used as water-soluble porogens for the formation of porous polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds. The main purpose was to prepare and evaluate in vitro efficacy of highly interconnected, three-dimensional (3D), porous polymeric scaffolds, as obtained from the combined particulate and polymer leaching techniques. Microscopic analysis confirmed the highly interconnectivity of the pores and relatively uniform pore size of 378-435 μm. The PCL scaffolds were further characterized for their density and pore characteristics, water absorption and flow behaviors, and mechanical properties and the potential for their use as bone scaffolding materials was evaluated in vitro using mouse calvaria-derived pre-osteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E1). Evidently, the use of PEG as the secondary porogen not only improved the interconnectivity of the pore structures, but also resulted in the PCL scaffolds that exhibited much better support for the proliferation and differentiation of the cultured bone cells.