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Stiffness memory nanohybrid scaffolds generated by indirect 3D printing for biologically responsive soft implants

Wu, L; Virdee, J; Maughan, E; Darbyshire, A; Jell, G; Loizidou, M; Emberton, M; ... Song, W; + view all (2018) Stiffness memory nanohybrid scaffolds generated by indirect 3D printing for biologically responsive soft implants. Acta Biomaterialia , 80 pp. 188-202. 10.1016/j.actbio.2018.09.016. Green open access

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Abstract

Cell and tissue stiffness is an important biomechanical signalling parameter for dynamic biological processes; responsive polymeric materials conferring responsive functionality are therefore appealing for in vivo implants. We have developed thermoresponsive poly(urea-urethane) nanohybrid scaffolds with 'stiffness memory' through a versatile 3D printing-guided thermally induced phase separation (3D-TIPS) technique. 3D-TIPS, a combination of 3D printing with phase separation, allows uniform phase-separation and phase transition of the polymer solution at a large interface of network within the printed sacrificial preform, leading to the creation of full-scale scaffolds with bespoke anatomical complex geometry. A wide range of hyperelastic mechanical properties of the soft elastomer scaffolds with interconnected pores at multi-scale, controlled porosity and crystallinity have been manufactured, not previously achievable via direct printing techniques or phase-separation alone. Semi-crystalline polymeric reverse self-assembly to a ground-stated quasi-random nanophase structure, throughout a hierarchical structure of internal pores, contributes to gradual stiffness relaxation during in vitro cell culture with minimal changes to shape. This 'stiffness memory' provides initial mechanical support to surrounding tissues before gradually softening to a better mechanical match, raising hopes for personalized and biologically responsive soft tissue implants which promote human fibroblast cells growth as model and potential scaffold tissue integration. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Biological processes are dynamic in nature, however current medical implants are often stronger and stiffer than the surrounding tissue, with little adaptability in response to biological and physical stimuli. This work has contributed to the development of a range of thermoresponsive nanohybrid elastomer scaffolds, with tuneable stiffness and hierarchically interconnected porous structure, manufactured by a versatile indirect 3D printing technique. For the first time, stiffness memory of the scaffold was observed to be driven by phase transition and a reverse self-assembly from a semicrystalline phase to a quasi-random nanostructured rubber phase. Early insight into cell response during the stiffness relaxation of the scaffolds in vitro holds promise for personalized biologically responsive soft implants.

Type: Article
Title: Stiffness memory nanohybrid scaffolds generated by indirect 3D printing for biologically responsive soft implants
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2018.09.016
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2018.09.016
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Keywords: 3D printing, 3D-TIPS, Phase separation, Polyurethane nanohybrid, Soft implants, Stiffness memory
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > The Ear Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Surgical Biotechnology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Biology and Cancer Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056894
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