Flexible and elastic porous poly(trimethylene carbonate) structures for use in vascular tissue engineering

Y. Song, M.M.J. Kamphuis, Z. Zhang, L.M.Th. Sterk, I. Vermes, A.A. Poot, J. Feijen, D.W. Grijpma

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Biocompatible and elastic porous tubular structures based on poly(1,3-trimethylene carbonate), PTMC, were developed as scaffolds for tissue engineering of small-diameter blood vessels. High-molecular-weight PTMC (Mn = 4.37 × 105) was cross-linked by gamma-irradiation in an inert nitrogen atmosphere. The resulting networks (50–70% gel content) were elastic and creep resistant. The PTMC materials were highly biocompatible as determined by cell adhesion and proliferation studies using various relevant cell types (human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)). Dimensionally stable tubular scaffolds with an interconnected pore network were prepared by particulate leaching. Different cross-linked porous PTMC specimens with average pore sizes ranging between 55 and 116 μm, and porosities ranging from 59% to 83% were prepared. These scaffolds were highly compliant and flexible, with high elongations at break. Furthermore, their resistance to creep was excellent and under cyclic loading conditions (20 deformation cycles to 30% elongation) no permanent deformation occurred. Seeding of SMCs into the wall of the tubular structures was done by carefully perfusing cell suspensions with syringes from the lumen through the wall. The cells were then cultured for 7 days. Upon proliferation of the SMCs, the formed blood vessel constructs had excellent mechanical properties. Their radial tensile strengths had increased from 0.23 to 0.78 MPa, which is close to those of natural blood vessels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1277
Number of pages9
JournalActa biomaterialia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Tissue Engineering
  • EWI-19438
  • Blood vessels
  • IR-75856
  • Tubular scaffolds
  • METIS-272975
  • Cross-linked PTMC


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