Based on a postulate that the microstructure of a scaffold can influence that of the resulting tissue and hence its mechanical behavior, we fabricated a small-diameter tubular scaffold (~3. mm inner diameter) that has a microstructure similar to the arterial media using a scaffold membrane approach. Scaffold membranes that contain randomly oriented, moderately aligned, or highly aligned fibers were fabricated by collecting electrospun poly([epsilon]-caprolactone) fibers on a grounded rotating drum at three different drum rotation speeds (250, 1000, and 1500. rpm). Membranes of each type were wrapped around a small-diameter mandrel to form the tubular scaffolds. Particularly, the tubular scaffolds with three different off-axis fiber angles (30, 45, and 60 degree) were formed using membranes that contain aligned fibers. These scaffolds were subjected to biaxial mechanical testing to examine the effects of fiber directions as well as the distribution of fiber orientations on their mechanical properties. The circumferential elastic modulus of the tubular scaffold was closely related to the fiber directions; the larger the off-axis fiber angle the greater the circumferential elastic modulus. The distribution of fiber orientations, on the other hand, manifested itself in the mechanical behavior via the Poisson effect. Similar to cell sheet-based vascular tissue engineering, tubular cell-seeded constructs were prepared by wrapping cell-seeded scaffold membranes, alleviating the difficulty associated with cell seeding in electrospun scaffolds. Histology of the construct illustrated that cells were aligned to the fiber directions in the construct, demonstrating the potential to control the microstructure of tissue-engineered vascular grafts using the electrospun scaffold membrane.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials|
|State||Published - 1 Sep 2012|
- Aligned fibers
- Mechanical properties
- Scaffold membrane
- Small-diameter tissue-engineered vascular grafts