Honors Theses


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Bachelor of Science


Biomedical Engineering

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Microfracture surgery is the most common procedure to treat osteochondral lesions in the knee. However, instead of developing the original hyaline cartilage at the site of treatment, this procedure leads to the development of fibrocartilage, which lacks the durability and function of hyaline cartilage. A small molecule compound, Kartogenin (KGN), is known to promote the differentiation of STEM cells into chondrocytes and can be incorporated into a polymer nanoscaffold via the electrospinning technique. The scaffold could serve as a release mechanism for the KGN as the polymer degrades in the body. This study implemented the use of two different polymers, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and polycaprolactone (PCL), and compared the characteristics of the electrospun scaffolds when different ratios of the polymers were used. Four scaffolds were electrospun with PCL to PLGA ratios of 1:0, 3:1, 1:3, and 0:1. Three samples were taken from each scaffold for a total of twelve samples. The samples were soaked in PBS for thirty days, during which the amount of KGN released was measured periodically. After soaking in PBS for thirty days, one sample from each scaffold was observed under SEM. The release data indicated that a heavy PCL concentration causes an initial burst release of KGN and a slow release rate following, while a heavy PLGA concentration causes no initial burst release, and a steady release rate. The SEM images displayed a loss in structure and swelling of the scaffolds with higher PLGA concentrations. This study concluded that combining PCL and PLGA is viable, and in order to optimize the characteristics of both polymers, some PCL is needed to maintain the structure of the scaffold, while, in order to take advantage of better release kinetics, the majority of the polymer component is to be PLGA.

Publication Date


First Advisor

Elder, Steven

Second Advisor

Van den Heever, David

Third Advisor

Elder, Anastasia