In view of cartilage tissue engineering, the possibility to prepare porous scaffolds releasing transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) in a well controlled fashion was investigated by means of an emulsion-coating method. Poly(ether–ester) multiblock copolymers were used to prepare emulsions containing TGF-β1 which were subsequently applied onto prefabricated scaffolds. This approach resulted in defined porous structures (66%) with interconnected porosity, suitable to allow tissue ingrowth. The scaffolds were effectively associated with TGF-β1 and allowed to tailor precisely the release of the growth factor from 12 days to more than 50 days by varying the copolymer composition of the coating. An incomplete release was measured by ELISA, possibly linked to the rapid concentration decrease of the protein in solution. The released growth factor retained its biological activity as was assessed by a cell proliferation assay and by the ability of the released protein to induce chondrogenic differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. However, exact bioactivity quantification was rendered difficult by the protein concentration decrease during storage. Therefore, this study confirms the interest of poly(ether–ester) multiblock copolymers for controlled release of growth factors, and indicates that emulsion-coated scaffolds are promising candidates for cartilage tissue engineering applications requiring precise TGF-β1 release rates.
- Controlled release
- Transforming growth factor beta
- Poly(ethylene glycol)-terephthalate/poly(butylene terephthalate)
- Cartilage tissue engineering
- Porous scaffolds