Biodegradable Chitosan-graft-Poly(l-lactide) Copolymers For Bone Tissue Engineering
The design and synthesis of new biomaterials with adjustable physicochemical and biological properties for tissue engineering applications have attracted great interest. In this work, chitosan-graft-poly(l-lactide) (CS-g-PLLA) copolymers were prepared by chemically binding poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) chains along chitosan (CS) via the &ldquo;grafting to&rdquo; approach to obtain hybrid biomaterials that present enhanced mechanical stability, due to the presence of PLLA, and high bioactivity, conferred by CS. Two graft copolymers were prepared, CS-g-PLLA(80/20) and CS-g-PLLA(50/50), containing 82 wt % and 55 wt % CS, respectively. Degradation studies of compressed discs of the copolymers showed that the degradation rate increased with the CS content of the copolymer. Nanomechanical studies in the dry state indicated that the copolymer with the higher CS content had larger Young modulus, reduced modulus and hardness values, whereas the moduli and hardness decreased rapidly following immersion of the copolymer discs in alpha-MEM cell culture medium for 24 h. Finally, the bioactivity of the hybrid copolymers was evaluated in the adhesion and growth of MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblastic cells. In vitro studies showed that MC3T3-E1 cells exhibited strong adhesion on both CS-g-PLLA graft copolymer films from the first day in cell culture, whereas the copolymer with the higher PLLA content, CS-g-PLLA(50/50), supported higher cell growth.