Ultraviolet light crosslinking of poly(trimethylene carbonate) for elastomeric tissue engineering scaffolds
A practical method of photocrosslinking high molecular weight poly(trimethylene carbonate)(PTMC) is presented. Flexible, elastomeric and biodegradable networks could be readily prepared by UV irradiating PTMC films containing pentaerythritol triacrylate (PETA) and a photoinitiator. The network characteristics, mechanical properties, wettability, and in vitro enzymatic erosion of the photocrosslinked PTMC films were investigated. Densely crosslinked networks with gel contents up to 98% could be obtained in this manner. Upon photocrosslinking, flexible and tough networks with excellent elastomeric properties were obtained. To illustrate the ease with which the properties of the networks can be tailored, blends of PTMC with mPEG-PTMC or with PTMC-PCL-PTMC were also photocrosslinked. The wettability and the enzymatic erosion rate of the networks could be tuned by blending with block copolymers. Tissue engineering scaffolds were also fabricated using these flexible photocrosslinkable materials. After crosslinking, the fabricated PTMC-based scaffolds showed inter-connected pores and extensive microporosity. Human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) culturing studies showed that the photocrosslinked scaffolds prepared from PTMC and PTMC/PTMC-PCL-PTMC blends are well-suited for tissue engineering applications.