Polymers for Regenerative Medicine

Volume 203 of the series Advances in Polymer Science pp 1-61


Biopolyesters in Tissue Engineering Applications

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Tissue engineering is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field of research focused on the development of vital autologous tissue through the use of a combination of biomaterials, cells, and bioactive molecules, for the purposes of repairing damaged or diseased tissue and organs. Due to their biocompatibility and biodegradability, as well as their broad range of mechanical properties, natural polyesters from the group of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have emerged as promising materials for various tissue engineering applications, including cardiovascular system, nerve, bone, and cartilage repair applications. Thus far, the majority of research on medical applications of PHAs refers to poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and its copolymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate). In recent years, other PHAs, such as poly(4-hydroxybutyrate) and poly(3-hydroxyoctanoate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate), have drawn increasing attention as viable materials for biomedical applications. Copolymers of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and medium-chain-length hydroxyalkanoates offer the advantage of having elastomeric properties. This is of particular importance for engineering of elastomeric tissue, such as in the cardiovascular system, and for providing mechanical stimuli, such as in cartilage repair. This review will describe the characteristics of promising biopolyesters for tissue engineering, together with strategies that can be used to adjust the material properties to the clinical requirements; examples of potential applications will also be presented.
Biocompatibility Biodegradability Mechanical properties Poly(hydroxyalkanoate)s Tissue engineering applications