Novel nano-rough polymers for cartilage tissue engineering
Ganesan Balasundaram,1 Daniel M Storey,1 Thomas J Webster2,3
1Surfatek, Longmont, CO, USA; 2Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA; 3Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Abstract: This study presents an innovative method for creating a highly porous surface with nanoscale roughness on biologically relevant polymers, specifically polyurethane (PU) and polycaprolactone (PCL). Nanoembossed polyurethane (NPU) and nanoembossed polycaprolactone (NPCL) were produced by the casting of PU and PCL over a plasma-deposited, spiky nanofeatured crystalline titanium (Ti) surface. The variables used in the process of making the spiky Ti surface can be altered to change the physical properties of the spiky particles, and thus, the cast polymer substrate surface can be altered. The spiky Ti surface is reusable to produce additional nanopolymer castings. In this study, control plain PU and PCL polymers were produced by casting the polymers over a plain Ti surface (without spikes). All polymer surface morphologies were characterized using both scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, and their surface energies were measured using liquid contact angle measurements. The results revealed that both NPU and NPCL possessed a higher degree of nanometer surface roughness and higher surface energy compared with their respective unaltered polymers. Further, an in vitro study was carried out to determine chondrocyte (cartilage-producing cells) functions on NPU and NPCL compared with on control plain polymers. Results of this study provided evidence of increased chondrocyte numbers on NPU and NPCL compared with their respective plain polymers after periods of up to 7 days. Moreover, the results provide evidence of greater intracellular protein production and collagen secretion by chondrocytes cultured on NPU and NPCL compared with control plain polymers. In summary, the present in vitro results of increased chondrocyte functions on NPU and NPCL suggest these materials may be suitable for numerous polymer-based cartilage tissue-engineering applications and, thus, deserve further investigation.
Keywords: chondrocytes, polyurethane, polycaprolactone, nano-roughened polymers, cartilage applications
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