The growth of suitable tissue to replace natural blood vessels requires a degradable scaffold material that is processable into porous structures with appropriate mechanical and cell growth properties. This study investigates the fabrication of degradable, crosslinkable prepolymers of l-lactide-co- trimethylene carbonate into porous scaffolds by electrospinning. After crosslinking by γ-radiation, dimensionally stable scaffolds were obtained with up to 56% trimethylene carbonate incorporation. The fibrous mats showed Young's moduli closely matching human arteries (0.4-0.8 MPa). Repeated cyclic extension yielded negligible change in mechanical properties, demonstrating the potential for use under dynamic physiological conditions. The scaffolds remained elastic and resilient at 30% strain after 84 days of degradation in phosphate buffer, while the modulus and ultimate stress and strain progressively decreased. The electrospun mats are mechanically superior to solid films of the same materials. In vitro, human mesenchymal stem cells adhered to and readily proliferated on the three-dimensional fiber network, demonstrating that these polymers may find use in growing artificial blood vessels in vivo.
- Gamma irradiation
- Vascular scaffold