Polymeric materials are important in many medical applications. Regenerative medicine offers the potential to repair or replace damaged tissue and polymers are an essential component of many tissue engineering approaches. Hydrogels have many advantageous properties but, generally, lack robust mechanical properties. At the same time, mounting evidence points to the importance of the matrix modulus when constructing devices. In this context, triblock copolymers made from poly(L-lactide)–poly(ethylene glycol)–poly(L-lactide) have been prepared and formulated into hydrogels. Investigations into their mechanical properties found the elastic modulus to be greater than 10 kPa which is at least one order of magnitude stiffer than previously reported from macromolecules composed of similar monomers. Part of the reason is the presence of crystalline lactide domains. Creating hydrogels with tailored modulus across the kPa range will likely have important ramifications in regenerative medicine.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gregory_tew/15/