The Effect of Argon Plasma Surface Treatment on Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)/Collagen-Based Biomaterials for Bone Tissue Engineering
Nonunion bone fractures can impact the quality of life and represent a major economic burden. Scaffold-based tissue engineering has shown promise as an alternative to bone grafting. Achieving desirable bone reconstruction requires appropriate surface properties, together with optimizing the internal architecture of 3D scaffolds. This study presents the surface modification of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), collagen, and PLGA-collagen via an argon plasma treatment. Argon plasma can modify the surface chemistry and topography of biomaterials and improve in vivo integration. Solvent-cast films were prepared using 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol and characterized via differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, contact angle measurement, and critical surface tension analysis. For PLGA films, the water contact angle dropped from 70° to 42°, whereas the diiodomethane contact angle reduced from 53° to 32° after the plasma treatment. A set of PLGA-collagen formulations were loaded with nanohydroxyapatite (nHA) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) to enhance their osteoconductivity and hydrophilicity. Then, 3D scaffolds were fabricated using a 3D Bioplotter and characterized via Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. A bicinchoninic acid assay (BCA) was used to compare the protein release from the untreated and plasma-treated scaffolds into phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). The plasma-treated scaffolds had a lower protein release, and the difference compared to the untreated scaffolds was statistically significant.