Pair of Functional Polyesters That Are Photo-Cross-Linkable and Electrospinnable to Engineer Elastomeric Scaffolds with Tunable Structure and Properties

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Department of Chemistry; Department of Biomedical Engineering; Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Department of Chemical Engineering


A pair of alkyne- and thiol-functionalized polyesters are designed to engineer elastomeric scaffolds with a wide range of tunable material properties (e.g., thermal, degradation, and mechanical properties) for different tissues, given their different host responses, mechanics, and regenerative capacities. The two prepolymers are quickly photo-cross-linkable through thiol-yne click chemistry to form robust elastomers with small permanent deformations. The elastic moduli can be easily tuned between 0.96 ± 0.18 and 7.5 ± 2.0 MPa, and in vitro degradation is mediated from hours up to days by adjusting the prepolymer weight ratios. These elastomers bear free hydroxyl and thiol groups with a water contact angle of less than 85.6 ± 3.58 degrees, indicating a hydrophilic nature. The elastomer is compatible with NIH/3T3 fibroblast cells with cell viability reaching 88 ± 8.7% relative to the TCPS control at 48 h incubation. Differing from prior soft elastomers, a mixture of the two prepolymers without a carrying polymer is electrospinnable and UV-cross-linkable to fabricate elastic fibrous scaffolds for soft tissues. The designed prepolymer pair can thus ease the fabrication of elastic fibrous conduits, leading to potential use as a resorbable synthetic graft. The elastomers could find use in other tissue engineering applications as well.

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ACS Applied Bio Materials