Composite hydrogel scaffolds with controlled pore opening via biodegradable hydrogel porogen degradation

Ashley M. Hawkins, Todd A. Milbrandt, David A. Puleo, J. Zach Hilt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Poly(β-amino ester) (PBAE) biodegradable hydrogel systems have garnered much attention in recent years due to their appealing properties for biomedical applications. These hydrogel systems exhibit properties similar to natural soft tissue, degrade in aqueous environments, and have easily tunable properties that have been well studied and understood. In most cases, tissue engineering scaffolds must possess a three-dimensional interconnected porous network for tissue ingrowth and construct vascularization. Here, PBAE properties were explored and systems were selected to serve as both the pore-forming agent and the outer matrix of a scaffold that exhibits controlled pore opening upon degradation. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a biodegradable hydrogel porogen system entrapped in a degradable hydrogel outer matrix. Scaffolds were prepared, and the degradation, compressive moduli, and porosity were analyzed. An added advantage of a degradable porogen is the potential for controlled drug release, and a model protein was released from the porogen particles to demonstrate this application. Finally, pluripotent cells seeded onto predegraded scaffolds were viable during the first 24 h of exposure, and furthermore, cell tracking confirmed the presence of cells within the pores of the scaffold. Overall, these present studies demonstrate the possibility of using these biodegradable hydrogel porogen-matrix systems as tissue engineering scaffolding materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-412
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • biodegradation
  • cell viability
  • controlled drug release
  • hydrogel
  • porosity
  • scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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