Highly Elastic and Moldable Polyester Biomaterial for Cardiac Tissue Engineering Applications
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Polyester biomaterials are used in tissue engineering as scaffolds for implantation of tissues developed in vitro. An ideal biodegradable elastomer for cardiac tissue engineering exhibits a relatively low Young's modulus, with high elongation and tensile strength. Here we describe a novel polyester biomaterial that exhibits improved elastic properties for cardiac tissue engineering applications. We synthesized poly(octamethylene maleate (anhydride) 1,2,4-butanetricarboxylate) (124 polymer) prepolymer gel in a one-step polycondensation reaction. The prepolymer was then molded as desired and exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light to produce a cross-linked elastomer. 124 polymer exhibited highly elastic properties under aqueous conditions that were tunable according to the UV light exposure, monomer composition, and porosity of the cured elastomer. Its elastomeric properties fell within the range of adult heart myocardium, but they could also be optimized for higher elasticity for weaker immature constructs. The polymer showed relatively stable degradation characteristics, both hydrolytically and in a cellular environment, suggesting maintenance of material properties as a scaffold support for potential tissue implants. When assessed for cell interaction, this polymer supported rat cardiac cell attachment in vitro as well as comparable acute in vivo host response when compared to poly(l-lactic acid) control. This suggests the potential applicability of this material as an elastomer for cardiac tissue engineered constructs.
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