Tailoring the degradation kinetics of poly(ester carbonate urethane)urea thermoplastic elastomers for tissue engineering scaffolds
Biodegradable elastomeric scaffolds are of increasing interest for applications in soft tissue repair and regeneration, particularly in mechanically active settings. The rate at which such a scaffold should degrade for optimal outcomes, however, is not generally known and the ability to select from similar scaffolds that vary in degradation behavior to allow such optimization is limited. Our objective was to synthesize a family of biodegradable polyurethane elastomers where partial substitution of polyester segments with polycarbonate segments in the polymer backbone would lead to slower degradation behavior. Specifically, we synthesized poly(ester carbonate)urethane ureas (PECUUs) using a blended soft segment of poly(caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(1,6-hexamethylene carbonate) (PHC), a 1,4-diisocyanatobutane hard segment and chain extension with putrescine. Soft segment PCL/PHC molar ratios of 100/0, 75/25, 50/50, 25/75, and 0/100 were investigated. Polymer tensile strengths varied from 14 to 34 MPa with breaking strains of 660–875%, initial moduli of 8–24 MPa and 100% recovery after 10% strain. Increased PHC content was associated with softer, more distensible films. Scaffolds produced by salt leaching supported smooth muscle cell adhesion and growth in vitro. PECUU in aqueous buffer in vitro and subcutaneous implants in rats of PECUU scaffolds showed degradation slower than comparable poly(ester urethane)urea and faster than poly(carbonate urethane)urea. These slower degrading thermoplastic polyurethanes provide opportunities to investigate the role of relative degradation rates for mechanically supportive scaffolds in a variety of soft tissue repair and reconstructive procedures.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 31, Issue 15, May 2010, Pages 4249–4258