Combined Porogen Leaching and Emulsion Templating to produce Bone Tissue Engineering Scaffolds

Robert Owen, Colin Sherborne, Richard Evans, Gwendolen C. Reilly, Frederik Claeyssens

Article ID: 265
Vol 6, Issue 2, 2020, Article identifier:265

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Bone has a hierarchy of porosity that is often overlooked when creating tissue engineering scaffolds where pore sizes are typically confined to a single order of magnitude. High internal phase emulsion (HIPE) templating produces polymerized HIPEs (polyHIPEs): highly interconnected porous polymers which have two length scales of porosity covering the 1–100 µm range. However, additional larger scales of porosity cannot be introduced in the standard emulsion formulation. Researchers have previously overcome this by additively manufacturing emulsions; fabricating highly microporous struts into complex macroporous geometries. This is time consuming and expensive; therefore, here we assessed the feasibility of combining porogen leaching with emulsion templating to introduce additional macroporosity. Alginate beads between 275 and 780 µm were incorporated into the emulsion at 0, 50, and 100 wt%. Once polymerized, alginate was dissolved leaving highly porous polyHIPE scaffolds with added macroporosity. The compressive modulus of the scaffolds decreased as alginate porogen content increased. Cellular performance was assessed using MLO-A5 post-osteoblasts. Seeding efficiency was significantly higher and mineralized matrix deposition was more uniformly deposited throughout porogen leached scaffolds compared to plain polyHIPEs. Deep cell infiltration only occurred in porogen leached scaffolds as detected by histology and lightsheet microscopy. This study reveals a quick, low cost and simple method of producing multiscale porosity scaffolds for tissue engineering.


Polymerized high internal phase emulsions, Emulsion templating, Alginate, Multiscale porosity, Bone tissue engineering

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