A Fibrillar Biodegradable Scaffold for Blood Vessels Tissue Engineering
Chemical Engineering Transactions
In recent years there has been a growing interest for the development of tubular scaffolds employed to assist the replacement of small blood vessels. Materials designed for this purpose need to be biodegradable, have good mechanical properties and improve cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. To obtain biomaterials with these properties, electrospinning seems to be one of the most useful technique. Several biodegradable synthetic polymers or constituents of the extracellular matrix
... ECM) have been electrospun showing optimal mechanical properties and biodegradability. However, such polymers are lacking in versatile chemical structure affordable to immobilize growth factors or chemokines. The glycosaminoglycan heparin is able to bind several growth factors like vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and, when grafted onto the scaffold surface it is able to attract cells thus improving their proliferation and differentiation. Aim of this research was the production and the preliminary in vitro biological characterization of a new biodegradable material, obtained by electrospun a polyaminoacid-graft-polyester copolymer. The electrospun biomaterial has been successfully grafted with heparin exploiting the better chemical reactivity of the polyaminoacid portions of the graft copolymer. Then its morphology has been investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the potential biodegradability of the material has been studied until 60 days. Preliminary biological data in vitro, on human endothelial cells, show a good compatibility of the scaffold obtained by electrospinning, with regard to cell adhesion and proliferation. Experiments are in progress to evaluate the effects of heparin on cell differentiation.