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Inorganic-Organic Shape Memory Polymers and Foams for Bone Defect Repairs
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The ultimate goal of this research was to develop a “self-fitting” shape memory polymer (SMP) scaffold for the repair of craniomaxillofacial (CMF) bone defects. CMF defects may be caused by trauma, tumor removal or congenital abnormalities and represent a major class of bone defects. Their repair with autografts is limited by availability, donor site morbidity and complex surgical procedures. In addition, shaping and positioning of these rigid grafts into irregular defects is difficult. Herein, we have developed SMP scaffolds which soften at T > ~56 °C, allowing them to conformally fit into a bone defect. Upon cooling to body temperature, the scaffold becomes rigid and mechanically locks in place. This research was comprised of four major studies. In the first study, photocrosslinkable acrylated (AcO) SMP macromers containing a poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) segment and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) segments were synthesized with the general formula: AcO-PCL40-block-PDMSm-block-PCL40-OAc. By varying the PDMS segment length (m), solid SMPs with highly tunable mechanical properties and excellent shape memory abilities were prepared. In the second study, porous SMP scaffolds were fabricated based on AcO-PCL40-block-PDMS37-block-PCL40-OAc via a revised solvent casting particulate leaching (SCPL) method. By tailoring scaffold parameters including salt fusion, macromer concentration and salt size, scaffold properties (e.g. pore features, compressive modulus and shape memory behavior) were tuned. In the third study, porous SMP scaffolds were produced from macromers with variable PDMS segment lengths (m = 0 – 130) via an optimized SCPL method. The impact on pore features, thermal, mechanical, and shape memory properties as well as degradation rates were investigated. In the final study, a bioactive polydopamine coating was applied onto pore surfaces of the SMP scaffold prepared from PCL diacrylate. The thin coating did not affect intrinsic bulk properties of the scaffold. However, the coating significantly increased its bioactivity, giving rise to the formation of “bone-bonding” hydroxyapatite (HAp) when exposed to simulated body fluid (SBF). It was also shown that the coating largely enhanced the scaffold’s capacities to support osteoblasts adhesion, proliferation and osteogenesis. Thus, the polydopamine coating should enhance the performance of the “self-fitting” SMP scaffolds for the repair of bone defects.
Zhang, Dawei (2013). Inorganic-Organic Shape Memory Polymers and Foams for Bone Defect Repairs. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from