Dry versus hydrated collagen scaffolds: are dry states representative of hydrated states?
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Collagen composite scaffolds have been used for a number of studies in tissue engineering. The hydration of such highly porous and hydrophilic structures may influence mechanical behaviour and porosity due to swelling. The differences in physical properties following hydration would represent a significant limiting factor for the seeding, growth and differentiation of cells in vitro and the overall applicability of such hydrophilic materials in vivo. Scaffolds based on collagen matrix, poly(DL-lactide) nanofibers, calcium phosphate particles and sodium hyaluronate with 8 different material compositions were characterised in the dry and hydrated states using X-ray microcomputed tomography, compression tests, hydraulic permeability measurement, degradation tests and infrared spectrometry. Hydration, simulating the conditions of cell seeding and cultivation up to 48 h and 576 h, was found to exert a minor effect on the morphological parameters and permeability. Conversely, hydration had a major statistically significant effect on the mechanical behaviour of all the tested scaffolds. The elastic modulus and compressive strength of all the scaffolds decreased by ~95%. The quantitative results provided confirm the importance of analysing scaffolds in the hydrated rather than the dry state since the former more precisely simulates the real environment for which such materials are designed.
This study was supported by a grant project awarded by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (15-25813A). This publication is the result of the implementation of the “Technological development of post-doc programmes” project, registration number CZ.1.05/41.00/16.0346, supported by the Research and Development for Innovations Operational Programme (RDIOP), co-financed by European regional development funds and the state budget of the Czech Republic. The project was also supported by the “Progres Q29/1LF, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic” and GAUK no. 400215. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided for our work by the long-term conceptual development research organisation under project no. RVO: 67985891. Special thanks go to Darren Ireland for the language revision of the English manuscript.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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