An essential component of functional articular cartilage tissue engineering is a mechano-active scaffold, which responds to applied compression stress and causes little permanent deformation. As the first paper of a series on mechano-active scaffold-based cartilage tissue engineering, this study focused on mechanical responses to various modes of loading of compression forces and subsequent selection of mechano-active scaffolds from the biomechanical viewpoint. Scaffolds made of elastomeric microporous poly(L-lactide-co-ε- caprolactone) (PLCL) with open-cell structured pores (300-500 μm) and with different porosities ranging from 71 to 86% were used. The PLCL sponges and rabbit articular cartilage tissue were subjected to compression/unloading tests (0.1 and 0.005 Hz) at 5 kPa, and stress relaxation tests at 10, 30, and 50% strain. The measurements of the maximum strain under loading and residual strain under unloading for compression tests and the max-imum stress and equilibrium stress in the stress relaxation test showed that the lower the porosity, the closer the mechanical properties are to those of native cartilage tissue. Among the PLCL sponges, the sponge with 71% porosity appears to be a suitable cartilage scaffold.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology