Synthesis and characterization of divinyl-fumarate Poly-ε-caprolactone for scaffolds with controlled architectures

A vinyl-terminated Polycaprolactone has been developed for tissue engineering applications using a one-step synthesis and functionalization method based on Ring Opening Polymerization (ROP) of ԑ-caprolactone, with Hydroxyl Ethyl Vinyl Ether (HEVE) acting both as the initiator of ROP and as photo-curable functional group. The proposed method employs a catalyst based on Al, instead of the most popular Tin(II) 2-ethylhexanoate, to reduce the cytotoxicity. Following the synthesis of the vinyl-terminated polycaprolactone, its reaction with Fumaryl Chloride (FuCl) results in a divinyl-fumarate polycaprolactone (VPCLF). The obtained polymers were thoroughly characterized using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) techniques. The polymer has been successfully employed, in combination with N-vinyl Pyrrolidone (NVP), to fabricate films and computer-designed porous scaffolds by micro-stereolithography (μ-SL) with Gyroid and Diamond architectures. Characterization of the networks indicated the influence of NVP content on the network properties. Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) adhered and spread onto VPCLF/NVP networks showing good biological properties and no cytotoxic effect.