A novel elastic and controlled-release poly(ether-ester-urethane)urea scaffold for cartilage regeneration
In the tissue engineering of cartilage, scaffolds with appropriate elasticity and controlled-release properties are essential. Herein, we synthesized a poly(ether-ester-urethane)urea scaffold with a pendant amino group (PEEUUN) through a de-protection process from PEEUU-Boc polymers and grafted kartogenin (KGN) onto the PEEUUN scaffolds (PEEUUN-KGN). Characterization, performance tests, scaffold biocompatibility analysis, and chondrogenesis evaluation both in vitro and in vivo were conducted. The results revealed that the PEEUUN-KGN scaffolds were degradable and three-dimensional (3D) with interconnected pores, and possessed good elasticity, as well as excellent cytocompatibility. Meanwhile, KGN on the PEEUUN-KGN scaffolds underwent stable sustained release for a long time and promoted human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (HUCMSCs) to differentiate into chondrocytes in vitro, thus enhancing cartilage regeneration in vivo. In conclusion, the present PEEUUN-KGN scaffolds would have application potential for cartilage tissue engineering.