Surface coating is the simplest surface modification. However, bioactive molecules can not spread well on the commonly used polylactone-type skeletons; thus, the surface coatings of biomolecules are typically unstable due to the weak interaction between the polymer and the bioactive molecules. In this study, a special type of poly(lactide-co
-glycolide) (PLGA)-based scaffold with a loosened skeleton was fabricated by phase separation, which allowed gelatin molecules to more readily diffuse throughout the structure. In this application, gelatin modified both the internal substrate and external surface. After cross-linking with glutaraldehyde, the surface layer gelatin was tightly bound to the diffused gelatin, thereby preventing the surface layer gelatin coating from falling off within 14 days. After gelatin modification, PLGA scaffold demonstrated enhanced hydrophilicity and improved mechanical properties (i.e.
, increased compression strength and elastic modulus) in dry and wet states. Furthermore, a sustained release profile of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) was achieved in the coated scaffold. The coated scaffold also supported the in vitro
attachment, proliferation, and osteogenesis of rabbit bone mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), indicating the bioactivity of rhBMP-2. These results collectively demonstrate that the cross-linked-gelatin-coated porous PLGA scaffold incorporating bioactive molecules is a promising candidate for bone tissue regeneration.
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