Self-assembly of 3D nanostructures in electrospun polycaprolactone-polyaniline fibers and their application as scaffolds for tissue engineering
© 2019 Acta Materialia Inc. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtla.2019.100296
The fabrication of synthetic scaffolds that mimic the microenvironment of cells is a crucial challenge in materials science. The honeycomb morphology is one such bio-mimicking structure that possesses unique physical properties and high packing efficiency in a 3-dimensional space. Here, we present a novel method for electrospinning polycaprolactone-polyaniline with continuous, self-assembled, uniform, interwoven nanofibers forming patterns without the use of templates or porogens. By using the approach presented here, unique architectures mimicking the natural mechanical anisotropy of extracellular matrix were created by varying the electric field. Adult human dermal fibroblasts (HDFa) cells were successfully cultured on the nanofiber scaffolds without any external growth factors or post-processing of the nanofibers and compared to a commercially available dermal template. Our data indicates that despite identical chemical composition, the physical properties impact cell attachment, alignment and penetration into the scaffold. The mechanical strength of the fibers also plays a role with a distinct preference to fibers with high stiffness and ultimate tensile strength. Thus, by tuning the electric field, fibers with different physical properties and patterns can be fabricated for different applications.