Journal of Supercritical Fluids, Vol.140, 1-10, 2018
Subcritical carbon dioxide foaming of polycaprolactone for bone tissue regeneration
The preparation of three-dimensional polycaprolactone scaffolds using dense CO2 as foaming agent, without supercritical conditions, was evaluated in this study towards future applications in bone repair. Herein, 3D foams were obtained at 5.0 MPa and 45 degrees C. To induce bioactivity, beta-tricalcium phosphate (beta-TCP, 10 wt%) and dexamethasone (5 and 10 wt%) were dispersed in the scaffolds. Foams revealed a pore size range of 164-882 mu m, 73-99% porosity and 79-99% interconnectivity, assessed by micro-computed tomography, and a Young modulus of 1.76-2.92 MPa. Dexamethasone did not impair morphology of the matrices in comparison with PCL + beta-TCP, which presented a water uptake of nearly 100% after 14 days. A sustained release of dexamethasone was achieved over 35 days in physiologic solution. This study reports the feasibility of using dense CO2 to produce in one-step a porous matrix loaded with active agents opening new possibilities towards injectable systems for in situ foaming.