Engineering ear-shaped cartilage using electrospun fibrous membranes of gelatin/polycaprolactone
Tissue engineering approach continuously requires for emerging strategies to improve the efficacy in repairing and regeneration of tissue defects. Previously, we developed a sandwich model strategy for cartilage engineering, using the combination of acellular cartilage sheets (ACSs) and chondrocytes. However, the process for the preparation of ACSs is complicated, and it is also difficult to obtain large ACSs. The aim of this study was to engineer cartilage with precise three-dimensional (3-D) structures by applying electrospun fibrous membranes of gelatin/polycaprolactone (GT/PCL). We first prepared the electrospun GT/PCL membranes into rounded shape, and then seeded chondrocytes in the sandwich model. After in vitro and in vivo cultivation, the newly formed cartilage-like tissues were harvested. Macroscopic observations and histological analysis confirmed that the engineering of cartilage using the electrospun GT/PCL membranes was feasible. An ear-shaped cartilage was then constructed in the sandwich model, with the help of an ear-shaped titanium alloy mold. After 2 weeks of culture in vitro and 6 weeks of subcutaneous incubation in vivo, the ear-shaped cartilage largely maintained their original shape, with a shape similarity up to 91.41% of the titanium mold. In addition, the engineered cartilage showed good elasticity and impressive mechanical strength. These results demonstrated that the engineering of 3-D cartilage in a sandwich model using electrospun fibrous membranes was a facile and effective approach, which has the potential to be applied for the engineering of other tissues with complicated 3-D structures.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 34, Issue 11, April 2013, Pages 2624–2631