Synthesis and Characterization of Self-Assembling Low Molecular Weight Copolymers for Bioengineering Applications
Sammanfattning: The constant need for improved biomedical materials and the interest in producing materials with similar properties to the extracellular matrix in different tissues has resulted in increasing interest in research on hydrogels. Over the last decade self-assembling copolymers have been of particular interest since they form hydrogels in response to external stimuli such as temperature. In this thesis, two self-assembling low molecular weight copolymers; poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide) grafted with poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether (PLGA-g-MPEG) and poly(L-lysine-co-L-alanine) (poly(Lys-co-Ala)) were synthesized for possible bioengineering applications. Their chemical structure and composition was analysed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). The results showed that low molecular weight PLGA-g-MPEG and poly(Lys-co-Ala) were successfully obtained.PLGA-g-MPEG hydrogels were formed at 37°C, within 1 minute, at a pH between 6-7 and had a functional life of one month. The block cooligopeptides of L-lysine and L-alanine formed cubic, hexagonal and hollow crystals in low pH and irregularly shaped crystals in at pH 7, while plate-like crystals were formed at both pH 3 and 7 form the random cooligopeptides. Evaluation of the properties of the low molecular weight copolymers, such as pH, functional life and crystalline morphology, revealed that the chemical composition and solvent composition strongly affects their self-assembling properties.These synthesized low molecular weight copolymers showed promise results for use as material in biomedical applications. Areas of potential use for these materials include bioengineered hierarchical scaffold material facilitating sequential release of growth factors, for example in bone tissue engineering, and as materials for encapsulated drug delivery.
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