Hybrid Core-Shell Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering
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The tissue engineering applications of coaxial electrospinning are growing due to the potential increased functionality of the fibres compared to basic electrospinning. Previous studies of core and shell scaffolds have placed the active elements in the core, however, the surface response to a biomaterial affects the subsequent behaviour, thus here hydroxyapatite (HA) was added to the shell. Coaxial electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL)-polylactic acid (PLA)/HA (core-shell) scaffolds were produced in 2D sheets using a plate collector, or 3D tubes for bone tissue engineering using a rotating needle collector. The scaffolds include high hydroxyapatite content while retaining their structural and mechanical integrity. The effect of the collector type on fibre diameter, fibre alignment and mechanical properties have been evaluated, and the impact of HA incorporation on bioactivity, BMP-2 release, cell behaviour and mechanical properties for up to 12 weeks degradation were assessed. Fibre uniformity in coaxial electrospinning depends on the relative flow rate of the core and shell solutions. Using a rotating needle collector increased fibre alignment compared to a stationary collector, without affecting fibre diameter significantly, while HA content increased fibre non-uniformity. Coaxial PCL-PLA/HA fibres exhibited significantly higher bioactivity compared to PCL-PLA scaffolds due to the surface exposure of the HA particles. Apatite formation increased with increasing SBF immersion time. Coaxial tubular scaffolds with and without HA incorporation showed gradual reductions in their mechanical properties over 12 weeks in PBS or SBF but still retained their structural integrity. Coaxial scaffolds with and without HA exhibited gradual and sustained BMP-2 release and supported MSCs proliferation and differentiation with no significant difference between the two scaffolds types. These materials therefore show potential applications as bone tissue engineering scaffolds.