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Fluorescence imaging enabled urethane-doped citrate-based biodegradable elastomers

Zhang, Yi, Tran, Richard T., Qattan, Ibrahim S., Tsai, Yi-Ting, Tang, Liping, Liu, Chao, Yang, Jian
Biomaterials 2013 v.34 no.16 pp. 4048-4056
biodegradability, crosslinking, drugs, dyes, fluorescence, image analysis, nanoparticles, photoluminescence, polymers, quantum dots, tensile strength, tissue engineering
The field of tissue engineering and drug delivery calls for new measurement tools, non-invasive real-time assays, and design methods for the next wave of innovations. Based on our recent progress in developing intrinsically biodegradable photoluminescent polymers (BPLPs) without conjugating organic dyes or quantum dots, in this paper, we developed a new type urethane-doped biodegradable photoluminescent polymers (UBPLPs) that could potentially serve as a new tool to respond the above call for innovations. Inherited from BPLPs, UBPLPs demonstrated strong inherent photoluminescence and excellent cytocompatibility in vitro. Crosslinked UBPLPs (CUBPLPs) showed soft, elastic, but strong mechanical properties with a tensile strength as high as 49.41 ± 6.17 MPa and a corresponding elongation at break of 334.87 ± 26.31%. Porous triphasic CUBPLP vascular scaffolds showed a burst pressure of 769.33 ± 70.88 mmHg and a suture retention strength of 1.79 ± 0.11 N. Stable but photoluminescent nanoparticles with average size of 103 nm were also obtained by nanoprecipitation. High loading efficiency (91.84%) and sustained release of 5-fluorouracil (up to 120 h) were achieved from UBPLP nanoparticles. With a quantum yield as high as 38.65%, both triphasic scaffold and nanoparticle solutions could be non-invasively detected in vivo. UBPLPs represent an innovation in fluorescent biomaterial design and may offer great potential in advancing the field of tissue engineering and drug delivery where bioimaging has gained increasing interest.