Electrospun biocomposite nanofibrous scaffolds for neural tissue engineering.Tissue Eng Part A 2008; 14(11):1787-97TE
Bridging of nerve gaps after injury is a major problem in peripheral nerve regeneration. Considering the potential application of a bio-artificial nerve guide material, polycaprolactone (PCL)/chitosan nanofibrous scaffolds was designed and evaluated in vitro using rat Schwann cells (RT4-D6P2T) for nerve tissue engineering. PCL, chitosan, and PCL/chitosan nanofibers with average fiber diameters of 630, 450, and 190 nm, respectively, were fabricated using an electrospinning process. The surface chemistry of the fabricated nanofibers was determined using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Simple blending of PCL with chitosan proved an easy and efficient method for fabricating PCL/chitosan nanofibrous scaffolds, whose surface characteristics proved more hydrophilic than PCL nanofibers. Evaluation of mechanical properties showed that the Young's modulus and strain at break of the electrospun PCL/chitosan nanofibers were better than those of the chitosan nanofibers. Results of cell proliferation studies on nanofibrous scaffolds using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium assay showed 48% more cell proliferation on PCL/chitosan scaffolds than on PCL scaffolds after 8 days of culture. PCL/chitosan scaffolds showed better cell proliferation than PCL scaffolds and maintained their characteristic cell morphology, with spreading bipolar elongations to the nanofibrous substrates. This electrospun nanofibrous matrix thus proved of specific interest in tissue engineering for peripheral nerve regeneration.