Formulation and characterization of a porous, elastomeric biomaterial for vocal fold tissue engineering research

Joel Gaston, Rebecca S. Bartlett, Sarah A. Klemuk, Susan L. Thibeault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Biomaterials able to mimic the mechanical properties of vocal fold tissue may be particularly useful for furnishing a 3-dimensional microenvironment allowing for in vitro investigation of cell and molecular responses to vibration. Motivated by the dearth of biomaterials available for use in an in vitro model for vocal fold tissue, we investigated polyether polyurethane (PEU) matrices, which are porous, mechanically tunable biomaterials that are inexpensive and require only standard laboratory equipment for fabrication. Methods: Rheology, dynamic mechanical analysis, and scanning electron microscopy were performed on PEU matrices at 5%, 10%, and 20% w/v mass concentrations. Results: For 5%, 10%, and 20% w/v concentrations, shear storage moduli were 2 kPa, 3.4 kPa, and 6 kPa, respectively, with shear loss moduli being 0.2 kPa, 0.38 kPa, and 0.62 kPa, respectively. Storage moduli responded to applied frequency as a linear function. Mercury intrusion porosimetry revealed that all 3 mass concentrations of PEU have a similar overall percentage porosity but differ in pore architecture. Conclusion: Twenty-μm diameter pores are ideal for cell seeding, and a range of mechanical properties indicates that the higher mass concentration PEU formulations are best suited for mimicking the viscoelastic properties of vocal fold tissue for in vitro research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-874
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular therapy
  • Elasticity
  • Mechanomimetic
  • Polyether polyurethane
  • Rheology
  • Tecoflex
  • Vocal folds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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