Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Burg, Karen J.L.

Committee Member

LaBerge , Martine

Committee Member

Duckett , Susan


It is estimated that over 150,000 patients will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2007. Patients must undergo a mastectomy or a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous tissue, but only a mastectomy allows breast reconstructive surgery. Due to the limitations of current reconstruction options, new alternatives are being explored. Injectable materials have been suggested for breast tissue reconstruction because of their versatility. Cells cultured on injectable beads form cell carriers that may be mixed with a hydrogel, resulting in a construct that may be injected through a syringe to restore normal tissue mass. This solution offers breast cancer patients a new reconstructive option that employs their own healthy cells. The long-term objective, beyond the scope of this research, is to develop a novel injectable composite system, consisting of cellular scaffolds in a hydrogel carrier that could be injected into a defect site. The primary goal of this research was to develop viable polymer scaffolds for preadipocyte growth and differentiation and to assess the cellular response to these scaffolds. Initially, collagen-polylactide beads were developed and seeded with fibroblasts. The fibroblasts had a high affinity for these beads, but collagen was not conclusively proven to be present in the microspheres. Subsequently, polylactide beads with collagen or collagen and linoleic acid coatings were produced. Preadipocytes were grown on the collagen and collagen/linoleic acid coated beads, uncoated polylactide beads, or two 2-D controls, and tested for viability, lipid and fatty acid production, and gene expression. Few cells were capable of attaching and proliferating on the uncoated polylactide beads for the entire 18-Day culture period; however, more cells were able to attach and proliferate on both types of coated microcarriers. Cell produced more triglyceride on Day 18 of culture on the beads coated with collagen than the polylactide beads or the polylactide beads coated with collagen and linoleic acid. Cells grown on both types of coated beads produced more fatty acids on Day 18 than cells grown on the polylactide beads. The coated beads show potential for use in the injectable composite system as cellular carriers; however, the polylactide beads may be better suited for an alternative purpose in this system. Future work is needed to optimize the linoleic acid concentration as well as to examine other fatty acids for their effectiveness in inducing differentiation of preadipocytes.



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