Author(s): Pham QP, Sharma U, Mikos AG
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Abstract The physical and spatial architectural geometries of electrospun scaffolds are important to their application in tissue engineering strategies. In this work, poly(epsilon-caprolactone) microfiber scaffolds with average fiber diameters ranging from 2 to 10 microm were individually electrospun to determine the parameters required for reproducibly fabricating scaffolds. As fiber diameter increased, the average pore size of the scaffolds, as measured by mercury porosimetry, increased (values ranging from 20 to 45 microm), while a constant porosity was observed. To capitalize on both the larger pore sizes of the microfiber layers and the nanoscale dimensions of the nanofiber layers, layered scaffolds were fabricated by sequential electrospinning. These scaffolds consisted of alternating layers of poly(epsilon-caprolactone) microfibers and poly(epsilon-caprolactone) nanofibers. By electrospinning the nanofiber layers for different lengths of time, the thickness of the nanofiber layers could be modulated. Bilayered constructs consisting of microfiber scaffolds with varying thicknesses of nanofibers on top were generated and evaluated for their potential to affect rat marrow stromal cell attachment, spreading, and infiltration. Cell attachment after 24 h did not increase with increasing number of nanofibers, but the presence of nanofibers enhanced cell spreading as evidenced by stronger F-actin staining. Additionally, increasing the thickness of the nanofiber layer reduced the infiltration of cells into the scaffolds under both static and flow perfusion culture for the specific conditions tested. The scaffold design presented in this study allows for cellular infiltration into the scaffolds while at the same time providing nanofibers as a physical mimicry of extracellular matrix.
This article was published in Biomacromolecules
and referenced in Translational Medicine