Design of Functional Degradable Aliphatic Polyesters and Porous Tissue Engineering Scaffolds
Abstract: The regeneration of damaged tissues or organs using porous scaffolds which act as temporary guides for the patient’s own cells, i.e. tissue engineering, is a means to overcome the shortcomings of current standard medical treatments. The large number of tissue engineering applications and the high demands on materials make it necessary to design materials and scaffolds with innovative characteristics tailored to suit specific applications. The purpose of the work presented in this thesis was to design aliphatic polyester (co)polymers and porous scaffolds in order to tailor material and scaffold properties and to control the property changes induced by radiation sterilization.Porous scaffolds were created, with an emphasis on tailoring the scaffolds thermal and mechanical properties. Stannous octoate was used in ring-opening polymerizations of L,L-lactide (LLA), ?-caprolactone (CL) and 1,5-dioxepane-2-one (DXO) to attain three copolymer types with a wide assortment of monomer compositions. A solvent casting and salt leaching scaffold fabrication technique was developed, and highly porous scaffolds possessing a range of predetermined properties were obtained.Highly porous tubular scaffolds of different designs for use in nerve regeneration were developed using copolymers of LLA, CL, DXO or trimethylene carbonate (TMC) and a versatile immersion coating and porogen leaching technique.Reactions induced by electron beam and gamma irradiation were used to finalize the scaffold properties. By changing the nature of the radiation, the radiation dose, the type of monomers, the monomer composition and the chain microstructure, it was possible to alter the susceptibility and the degradation mechanisms of the polymers. Predicted end-properties were obtainable and the sterilization procedure was incorporated as a final step in the scaffold fabrication.The free radical ring-opening polymerization of the cyclic ketene acetal 2-methylene-1,3-dioxe-5-pene was developed, a reaction mechanism was proposed and the reaction products were characterized as a first step towards the creation of an innovative multifunctional aliphatic polyester. The reaction mechanism was shown to be temperature-dependent and propagation was inhibited by the formation of an allylic radical in the ring-opening step. The primary reaction product at higher temperatures was the cyclic ester 3-vinyl-1,4-butyrolactone. At lower temperatures, the main product was oligomers of ring-opened and ring-retained repeating units.
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