Physicochemical characterisation of novel ultra-thin biodegradable scaffolds for peripheral nerve repair

  • Sun M
  • Downes S
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In this study, the physicochemical properties of microporous poly (epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) films and a composite material made of PCL and polylactic acid (PLA) blend were tested. Fabricated by solvent casting using dichloromethane, these ultra-thin films (60 +/- 5 microm in thickness) have a novel double-sided surface topography, i.e. a porous surface with pores 1-10 microm in diameter and a relatively smooth surface with nano-scaled texture. Porous surfaces were found to be associated with increased protein adsorption and the treatment of these polyester scaffolds with NaOH rendered them more hydrophilic. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) showed that the incorporation of PLA reduced the crystallinity of the original homopolymer. Chemical changes were investigated by means of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Average surface roughness (Ra), hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity and mechanical properties of these materials were also assessed for the suitability of these materials as nerve conduits.

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  • Mingzhu Sun

  • Sandra Downes

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