Poly-l-Lactic Acid (PLLA)-Based Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine: A Review on Processing and Applications
Synthetic biopolymers are effective cues to replace damaged tissue in the tissue engineering (TE) field, both for in vitro and in vivo application. Among them, poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) has been highlighted as a biomaterial with tunable mechanical properties and biodegradability that allows for the fabrication of porous scaffolds with different micro/nanostructures via various approaches. In this review, we discuss the structure of PLLA, its main properties, and the most recent advances in overcoming its hydrophobic, synthetic nature, which limits biological signaling and protein absorption. With this aim, PLLA-based scaffolds can be exposed to surface modification or combined with other biomaterials, such as natural or synthetic polymers and bioceramics. Further, various fabrication technologies, such as phase separation, electrospinning, and 3D printing, of PLLA-based scaffolds are scrutinized along with the in vitro and in vivo applications employed in various tissue repair strategies. Overall, this review focuses on the properties and applications of PLLA in the TE field, finally affording an insight into future directions and challenges to address an effective improvement of scaffold properties.