Development and Characterization of Functional Polylactic Acid/Chitosan Porous Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering
In this study, we developed and characterized various open-cell composite scaffolds for bone regeneration. These scaffolds were made from Polylactic acid (PLA) as the scaffold matrix biopolymeric phase, and chitosan (CS) and chitosan-grafted-PLA (CS-g-PLA) copolymer as the dispersed biopolymeric phase. As a first step, successful grafting of PLA onto CS backbone was executed and confirmed by both FTIR and XPS. Mechanical characterization confirmed that adding CS or CS-g-PLA to the intrinsically rigid PLA made their corresponding PLA/CS and PLA/CS-g-PLA composite scaffolds more flexible under compression. This flexibility was higher for the latter due to the improved compatibility between PLA and CS-g-PLA copolymer. The hydrolytic stability of both PLA/CS and PLA/CS-g-PLA composite scaffolds inside phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) solution, as well as MG-63 osteoblast cell adhesion and proliferation inside both scaffolds, were characterized. The corresponding results revealed that PLA/CS composite scaffolds showed hydrolytic degradation due to the cationic properties of CS. However, modified PLA/CS-g-PLA scaffolds were hydrolytically stable due to the improved interfacial adhesion between the PLA matrix and CS-g-PLA copolymer. Finally, biological characterization was done for both PLA/CS and PLA/CS-g-PLA composite scaffolds. Contrarily to what was observed for uncompatibilized PLA/CS scaffolds, compatibilized PLA/CS-g-PLA scaffolds showed a high MG-63 osteoblast cell proliferation after three and five days of cell culture. Moreover, it was observed that cell proliferation increased with CS-g-PLA content. This suggests that the PLA/CS-g-PLA composite scaffolds could be a potential solution for bone regeneration.