Biocompatibility evaluation of electrospun aligned poly (propylene carbonate) nanofibrous scaffolds with peripheral nerve tissues and cells in vitro.Chin Med J (Engl) 2011; 124(15):2361-6CM
Peripheral nerve regeneration across large gaps is clinically challenging. Scaffold design plays a pivotal role in nerve tissue engineering. Recently, nanofibrous scaffolds have proven a suitable environment for cell attachment and proliferation due to similarities of their physical properties to natural extracellular matrix. Poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) nanofibrous scaffolds have been investigated for vascular tissue engineering. However, no reports exist of PPC nanofibrous scaffolds for nerve tissue engineering. This study aimed to evaluate the potential role of aligned and random PPC nanofibrous scaffolds as substrates for peripheral nerve tissue and cells in nerve tissue engineering.
Aligned and random PPC nanofibrous scaffolds were fabricated by electrospinning and their chemical characterization were carried out using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Dorsal root ganglia (DRG) from Sprague-Dawley rats were cultured on the nanofibrous substrates for 7 days. Neurite outgrowth and Schwann-cell migration from DRG were observed and quantified using immunocytochemistry and SEM. Schwann cells derived from rat sciatic nerves were cultured in electrospun PPC scaffold-extract fluid for 24, 48, 72 hours and 7 days. The viability of Schwann cells was evaluated by 3-[4,5-dimethyl(thiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl] tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay.
The diameter of aligned and random fibers ranged between 800 nm and 1200 nm, and the thickness of the films was approximately 10 - 20 µm. Quantification of aligned fiber films revealed approximately 90% alignment of all fibers along the longitudinal axis. However, with random fiber films, the alignment of fibers was random through all angle bins. Rat DRG explants were grown on PPC nanofiber films for up to 1 week. On the aligned fiber films, the majority of neurite outgrowth and Schwann cell migration from the DRG extended unidirectionally, parallel to the aligned fibers. However, on the random fiber films, neurite outgrowth and Schwann cell migration were randomly distributed. A comparison of cumulative neurite lengths from cultured DRGs indicated that neurites grew faster on aligned PPC films ((2537.6 ± 987.3) µm) than randomly-distributed fibers ((493.5 ± 50.6) µm). The average distance of Schwann cell migration on aligned PPC nanofibrous films ((2803.5 ± 943.6) µm) were significantly greater than those on random fibers ((625.3 ± 47.8) µm). The viability of Schwann cells cultured in aligned PPC scaffold extract fluid was not significantly different from that in the plain DMEM/F12 medium at all time points after seeding.
The aligned PPC nanofibrous film, but not the randomly-oriented fibers, significantly enhanced peripheral nerve regeneration in vitro, indicating the substantial role of topographical cues in stimulating endogenous nerve repair mechanisms. Aligned PPC nanofibrous scaffolds may be a promising biomaterial for nerve regeneration.