The fabrication of PLGA microvessel scaffolds with nano-patterned inner walls
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Poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is one of the most commonly used biodegradable, biocompatible materials. Nanostructured PLGA has immense potential for application in tissue engineering. In this article we discuss a novel approach for the fabrication of PLGA microvessel scaffolds with nanostructured inner walls. In this novel nano-patterning approach, the thermal reflow technique is first adapted to fabricate a semi-cylindrical photoresist master mold. A thin film of titanium and a thin film of aluminum are sputtered in sequence on the semi-cylindrical microvessel network. Aluminum foil anodization is then executed to transform the aluminum thin film into a porous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) film. During the casting process a PLGA solution is cast on the AAO film to build up semi-cylindrical PLGA microstructures with nanostructured inner walls after which inductive coupled plasma (ICP) is implemented to assist bonding of the two PLGA structures. The result is the building of a network of microchannels with nano-patterned inner walls. Bovine endothelial cells (BECs) are carefully cultured in the scaffold via semi-dynamic seeding for 7 days. Observations show that the BECs grew more separately in a nano-patterned microvessel scaffold than they did in a smooth surface scaffold.