Injectable porous microspheres form highly porous scaffolds after injection

O. Qutachi, J.R. Vetsch, D. Gill, H. Cox, D.J. Scurr, S. Hofmann, R. Müller, R.A. Quirk, K.M. Shakesheff, C.V. Rahman

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Injectable scaffolds are of interest in the field of regenerative medicine because of their minimally invasive mode of delivery. For tissue repair applications, it is essential that such scaffolds have the mechanical properties, porosity and pore diameter to support the formation of new tissue. In the current study, porous poly(dl-lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres were fabricated with an average size of 84 ± 24 µm for use as injectable cell carriers. Treatment with ethanolic sodium hydroxide for 2 min was observed to increase surface porosity without causing the microsphere structure to disintegrate. This surface treatment also enabled the microspheres to fuse together at 37 °C to form scaffold structures. The average compressive strength of the scaffolds after 24 h at 37 °C was 0.9 ± 0.1 MPa, and the average Young’s modulus was 9.4 ± 1.2 MPa. Scaffold porosity levels were 81.6% on average, with a mean pore diameter of 54 ± 38 µm. This study demonstrates a method for fabricating porous PLGA microspheres that form solid porous scaffolds at body temperature, creating an injectable system capable of supporting NIH-3T3 cell attachment and proliferation in vitro.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5090-5098
Number of pages8
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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