Hierarchical polymeric scaffolds support the growth of MC3T3-E1 cells

Tissue engineering makes use of the principles of biology and engineering to sustain 3D cell growth and promote tissue repair and/or regeneration. In this study, macro/microporous scaffold architectures have been developed using a hybrid solid freeform fabrication/thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) technique. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) dissolved in 1,4-dioxane was used to generate a microporous matrix by the TIPS method. The 3D-bioplotting technique was used to fabricate 3D macroporous constructs made of polyethylene glycol (PEG). Embedding the PEG constructs inside the PLGA solution prior to the TIPS process and subsequent extraction of PEG following solvent removal (1,4-dioaxane) resulted in a macro/microporous structure. These hierarchical scaffolds with a bimodal pore size distribution (<50 and >300 μm) contained orthogonally interconnected macro-channels generated by the extracted PEG. The diameter of the macro-channels was varied by tuning the dispensing parameters of the 3D bioplotter. The in vitro cell culture using murine MC3T3-E1 cell line for 21 days demonstrated that these scaffolds could provide a favorable environment to support cell adhesion and growth.