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3D polylactide-based scaffolds for studying human hepatocarcinoma processes in vitro

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Author(s): Roberto Scaffaro, Giada Lo Re, Salvatrice Rigogliuso and Giulio Ghersi

Journal: Science and Technology of Advanced Materials
ISSN 1468-6996

Volume: 13;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 045003;
Date: 2012;
Original page

ABSTRACT
We evaluated the combination of leaching techniques and melt blending of polymers and particles for the preparation of highly interconnected three-dimensional polymeric porous scaffolds for in vitro studies of human hepatocarcinoma processes. More specifically, sodium chloride and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) were used as water-soluble porogens to form porous and solvent-free poly(L,D-lactide) (PLA)-based scaffolds. Several characterization techniques, including porosimetry, image analysis and thermogravimetry, were combined to improve the reliability of measurements and mapping of the size, distribution and microarchitecture of pores. We also investigated the effect of processing, in PLA-based blends, on the simultaneous bulk/surface modifications and pore architectures in the scaffolds, and assessed the effects on human hepatocarcinoma viability and cell adhesion. The influence of PEG molecular weight on the scaffold morphology and cell viability and adhesion were also investigated. Morphological studies indicated that it was possible to obtain scaffolds with well-interconnected pores of assorted sizes. The analysis confirmed that SK-Hep1 cells adhered well to the polymeric support and emitted surface protrusions necessary to grow and differentiate three-dimensional systems. PEGs with higher molecular weight showed the best results in terms of cell adhesion and viability.
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