, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 523-532
Date: 08 Nov 2012

Aspirin-loaded electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) tubular scaffolds: potential small-diameter vascular grafts for thrombosis prevention

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Thrombosis is the main cause of failure of small-diameter synthetic vascular grafts when used for by-pass procedures. The development of bioresorbable vascular scaffolds with localized and sustained intra-luminal antithrombotic drug release could be considered a desirable improvement towards a valuable solution for this relevant clinical need. For this aim, we present the fabrication and characterization of aspirin-loaded electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) tubular scaffolds as a vascular drug-delivery graft. Three different drug concentrations were considered (i.e., 1, 5 or 10 % w/w). Although a fibrous structure was clearly observed for all the collected scaffolds, aspirin content was directly implied in the final microstructure leading to a bimodal fiber diameter distribution and fused fibers at crossing-points (5 or 10 % w/w). Mechanical response highlighted a direct relationship for modulus and stress at break with the aspirin content, while the elongation at break was not remarkably different for the investigated cases. The temporal drug release was strongly dependent from the amount of loaded aspirin, reaching a steady state release after about 50 h. Finally, the adhesion assay confirmed the capability of the electrospun scaffolds to reduce platelet adhesion/aggregation onto aspirin loaded polymeric fibers. Aspirin-loaded electrospun tubular scaffold could represent a feasible candidate to develop a novel bioresorbable drug-releasing graft for small-diameter vessel replacements.