Highly Superporous Scaffolds for SCI
Highly superporous cholesterol-modified poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) scaffolds for spinal cord injury repair.
Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Víden̆ská 1083, 14220 Prague 4, Czech Republic. email@example.com.
Modifications of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) with cholesterol and the introduction of large pores have been developed to create highly superporous hydrogels that promote cell-surface interactions and that can serve as a permissive scaffold for spinal cord injury (SCI) treatment. Highly superporous cholesterol-modified PHEMA scaffolds have been prepared by the bulk radical copolymerization of 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), cholesterol methacrylate (CHLMA), and ethylene dimethacrylate (EDMA) cross-linking agent in the presence of ammonium oxalate crystals to establish interconnected pores in the scaffold. Moreover, 2-[(methoxycarbonyl)methoxy]ethyl methacrylate (MCMEMA) was incorporated in the polymerization recipe and hydrolyzed, thus introducing carboxyl groups in the hydrogel to control its swelling and softness. The hydrogels supported the in vitro adhesion and proliferation of rat mesenchymal stem cells. In an in vivo study of acute rat SCI, hydrogels were implanted to bridge a hemisection cavity. Histological evaluation was done 4 weeks after implantation and revealed the good incorporation of the implanted hydrogels into the surrounding tissue, the progressive infiltration of connective tissue and the ingrowth of neurofilaments, Schwann cells, and blood vessels into the hydrogel pores. The results show that highly superporous cholesterol-modified PHEMA hydrogels have bioadhesive properties and are able to bridge a spinal cord lesion. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A:, 2011.