Evaluation of 3D hybrid microfiber/nanofiber scaffolds for bone tissue engineering

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Fabrication of scaffolds for tissue engineering (TE) applications becomes a very important research topic in present days. The aim of the study was to create and evaluate a hybrid polymeric 3D scaffold consisted of nano and microfibers, which could be used for bone tissue engineering. Hybrid structures were fabricated using rapid prototyping (RP) and electrospinning (ES) methods. Electrospun nanofibrous mats were incorporated between the microfibrous layers produced by RP technology. The nanofibers were made of poly(L-lactid) and polycaprolactone was used to fabricate microfibers. The micro- and nanostructures of the hybrid scaffolds were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). X-ray microtomographical (μCT) analysis and the mechanical testing of the porous hybrid structures were performed using SkyScan 1172 machine, equipped with a material testing stage. The scanning electron microscopy and micro-tomography analyses showed that obtained scaffolds are hybrid nanofibers/microfibers structures with high porosity and interconnected pores ranging from 10 to 500um. Although, connection between microfibrous layers and electrospun mats remained consistent under compression tests, addition of the nanofibrous mats affected the mechanical properties of the scaffold, particularly its elastic modulus. The results of the biocompatibility tests didn’t show any cytotoxic effects and no fibroblast after contact with the scaffold showed any damage of the cell body, the cells had proper morphologies and showed good proliferation. Summarizing, using RP technology and electrospinning method it is possible to fabricate biocompatible scaffolds with controllable geometrical parameters and good mechanical properties.

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