4D polycarbonates via stereolithography as scaffolds for soft tissue repair

Andrew Dove, Andrew Weems, Maria Chiara Arno, Wei Yu, Robert T R Huckstepp

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3D printing has emerged as one of the most promising tools to overcome the processing and morphological limitations of traditional tissue engineering scaffold design. However, there is a need for improved minimally invasive, void-filling materials to provide mechanical support, biocompatibility, and surface erosion characteristics to ensure consistent tissue support during the healing process. Herein, soft, elastomeric aliphatic polycarbonate-based materials were designed to undergo photopolymerization into supportive soft tissue engineering scaffolds. The 4D nature of the printed scaffolds is manifested in their shape memory properties, which allows them to fill model soft tissue voids without deforming the surrounding material. In vivo, adipocyte lobules were found to infiltrate the surface-eroding scaffold within 2 months, and neovascularization was observed over the same time. Notably, reduced collagen capsule thickness indicates that these scaffolds are highly promising for adipose tissue engineering and repair.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3771
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2021


  • 3D printing
  • ROP
  • printed scaffolds
  • stereolithography


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