Density–property relationships in collagen–glycosaminoglycan scaffolds
Collagen–glycosaminoglycan scaffolds for the regeneration of skin have previously been fabricated by freeze-drying a slurry containing a co-precipitate of collagen and glycosaminoglycan. The mechanical properties of the scaffold are low (e.g. the dry compressive Young’s modulus is roughly 30 kPa and the dry compressive strength is roughly 5 kPa). There is interest in using these scaffolds for tendon and ligament regeneration where there is a need for improved mechanical properties. Previous attempts to increase the mechanical properties of the scaffold by increasing the solid volume fraction of the scaffolds were limited by the increasing viscosity of the slurry, making it more difficult to mix and giving inhomogeneous scaffolds. Our recent work on mineralized collagen–glycosaminoglycan scaffolds used a vacuum filtration technique to increase the volume fraction of solids in the slurry, thereby increasing the density and mechanical properties of the scaffolds. In this work, we used this technique to fabricate collagen–glycosaminoglycan scaffolds with dry densities between 0.0076 and 0.0311 g cm−3 and pore sizes between 250 and 350 μm, values appropriate for soft tissue growth. The compressive Young’s modulus and strength in the dry state increased from 32 to 127 kPa and from 5 to 19 kPa, respectively, with increasing density. The tensile Young’s modulus in the dry state increased from 295 to 3.1 MPa with increasing density. Finally, we showed that the attachment of cells onto the scaffold was directly proportional to the specific surface area of the scaffold, which defines the total internal surface area per volume of scaffold.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 6, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 344–353