Polymers that are biocompatible and degradable are desired for tissue engineering approaches in the treatment of vascular diseases, especially for those involving small-diameter blood vessels. Herein, we report the compatibility of a newly developed glycerol-based aliphatic polycarbonate possessing simple methoxy side groups, named poly(5-methoxy-1,3-dioxan-2-one) (PMDO), with blood cells and plasma proteins as well as its susceptibility to hydrolysis. As a consequence of the organocatalytic ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of a methoxy-functionalized cyclic carbonate derived from glycerol, PMDO with a sufficiently high molecular weight (Mn 14 kg/mol) and a narrow distribution (DM 1.12) was obtained for evaluation as a bulk biomaterial. This study demonstrates for the first time the organocatalytic ROP of a glycerol-based cyclic carbonate in a controlled manner. Compared with the clinically applied aliphatic polycarbonate poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC), PMDO inhibits platelet adhesion by 33% and denaturation of fibrinogen by 23%. Although the wettability of PMDO based on water contact angle was almost comparable to those of PTMC and poly(ethylene terephthalate), the reason for the inhibited platelet adhesion and protein denaturation appeared to be related to the presence of specific hydrated water formed in the hydrated polymer. The improved hydration of PMDO also enhanced the susceptibility to hydrolysis, with PMDO demonstrating a slightly higher hydrolytic property than PTMC. This simple glycerol-based aliphatic polycarbonate has the following benefits: bio-based characteristics of glycerol and improved blood compatibility and hydrolytic biodegradability stemming from moderate hydration of the methoxy side groups.
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