Fabrication and characterization of soft macroporous Jeffamine cryogels as potential materials for tissue applications
Macroporous three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds have been proven to function as structural substrates and as apertures for cell growth and proliferation thereby ensuring tissue regeneration. Such scaffolds demonstrate high pore interconnectivity and functionality and as a result permit cell adherence and growth while maintaining mechanical strength, biodegradability and biocompatibility without causing any immune response. In this study, macroporous cryogels were synthesized from difunctional Jeffamine (600, 900 and 2000 g mol−1) and glutaraldehyde in the presence of a trifunctional Jeffamine (403 g mol−1) as a crosslinker via a freeze-drying technique. The fabricated cryogels were subsequently reduced by reductive amination to create more active functional groups which increase biological interaction. The functional groups, reductive efficacy, pore size/surface topology and thermal stability were analysed using FT-IR and 13C-NMR, SEM and TGA, respectively. Visco-elastic behaviour of the cryogels was investigated by unconfined compression test which depicted good elastic modulus and mechanical strength. Considerable swelling ratios were obtained alongside in vitro degradation analysis performed for 10 days at pH 7.4. In addition, in vitro biocompatibility was evaluated via MTT assay for 24 h at 37 °C using Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) for cell growth and cytotoxicity evaluation on the non-reduced and reduced Jeffamine cryogels.