A crimp-like microarchitecture improves tissue production in fibrous ligament scaffolds in response to mechanical stimuli
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of a crimp-like microarchitecture within electrospun polymer scaffolds on fibroblast extracellular matrix (ECM) production when cultured under dynamic conditions. Electrospun poly(l-lactide-co-d,l-lactide) scaffolds possessing a wave pattern similar to collagen crimp (amplitude: 5 μm and wavelength: 46 μm) were seeded with bovine fibroblasts and mechanically stimulated under dynamic uniaxial tension. The effect of strain amplitude (5%, 10% and 20%) was investigated in a short-term stimulation study. The 10% strain amplitude in the stimulated crimp-like fibre scaffold increased only collagen synthesis, while the 20% strain amplitude increased both collagen and sulphated proteoglycan synthesis compared to stimulated uncrimped (straight) fibre scaffolds and unloaded controls (crimp-like static fibre scaffolds). Alternatively, mechanical stimulation of fibroblasts seeded on uncrimped fibre scaffolds induced significant fibroblast proliferation compared to the stimulated crimp-like fibre scaffolds and no-load controls. Long-term, dynamic mechanical stimulation of fibroblasts seeded on crimp-like fibre scaffolds at 10% strain amplitude resulted in significantly up-regulated collagen accumulation and down-regulated sulphated proteoglycan accumulation. Additionally, the fibroblasts seeded on dynamically stimulated crimp-like fibre scaffolds appeared to form bundles that resembled fascicles, a characteristic hierarchical feature of the native ligament. Our findings demonstrate that fibroblasts seeded on crimp-like fibrous scaffolds respond more favourably (increased ECM synthesis and fascicle formation) to dynamic mechanical loading compared to those grown on scaffolds containing uncrimped (straight) fibres.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 8, Issue 10, October 2012, Pages 3704–3713