Hybrid Additive Microfabrication Scaffold Incorporated with Highly Aligned Nanofibers for Musculoskeletal Tissues
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Latest tissue engineering strategies for musculoskeletal tissues regeneration focus on creating a biomimetic microenvironment closely resembling the natural topology of extracellular matrix. This paper presents a novel musculoskeletal tissue scaffold fabricated by hybrid additive manufacturing method.
The skeleton of the scaffold was 3D printed by fused deposition modeling, and a layer of random or aligned polycaprolactone nanofibers were embedded between two frames. A parametric study was performed to investigate the effects of process parameters on nanofiber morphology. A compression test was performed to study the mechanical properties of the scaffold. Human fibroblast cells were cultured in the scaffold for 7 days to evaluate the effect of scaffold microstructure on cell growth.
The tip-to-collector distance showed a positive correlation with the fiber alignment, and the electrospinning time showed a negative correlation with the fiber density. With reinforced nanofibers, the hybrid scaffold demonstrated superior compression strength compared to conventional 3D-printed scaffold. The hybrid scaffold with aligned nanofibers led to higher cell attachment and proliferation rates, and a directional cell organization. In addition, there was a nonlinear relationship between the fiber diameter/density and the cell actinfilament density.
This hybrid biofabrication process can be established as a highly efficient and scalable platform to fabricate biomimetic scaffolds with patterned fibrous microstructure, and will facilitate future development of clinical solutions for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration.
KeywordsMusculoskeletal tissues Hybrid biofabrication Patterned fibrous microstructure 3D printing Electrospinning
This paper was financially supported by the Foundation of the Whitacre College of Engineering and the Office of Vice President for Research at Texas Tech University.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The protocol of cell culture study was approved by the Texas Tech University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC#: 1705B1).