Formation of Nanofibrous Matrices, Three-Dimensional Scaffolds, and Microspheres: From Theory to Practice Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Nanofibrous architecture presents unique biophysical cues to facilitate cellular responses and is considered an indispensable feature of a biomimetic three-dimensional (3D) scaffold and cell carrier. While electrospinning is a widely used method to prepare natural extracellular matrix-like nanofibers, it faces significant challenges to incorporate nanofibrous architecture into well-defined macroporous 3D scaffolds or injectable microspheres. Here we report a nonelectrospinning approach that is effective at generating nanofibers from a variety of synthetic and natural biodegradable polymers and integrating these nanofibers into (1) 3D scaffolds with constructive geometry and designed internal macropore structures; and (2) injectable microspheres. Our approach to generating polymer nanofibers is based on the control of polymer-solvent interaction parameter χp-s. We obtained the χp-s and solvent composition phase diagrams of different temperatures according to the Flory-Huggins classic lattice model and the Hildebrand-Scott solubility parameter equation. A critical polymer-solvent interaction parameter χcrit was introduced as a criterion to predict phase separation and nanofiber formation. To test the effectiveness of our approach, a total of 15 widely used biodegradable polymers were selected and successfully fabricated into nanofibrous matrices. Furthermore, macroporous nanofibrous 3D scaffolds with complex architecture and nanofibrous injectable microspheres were generated from those biodegradable polymers by combining our method with other processes. Our approach is universally effective to fabricate nanofibrous matrices from any polymeric materials. This work, therefore, greatly expands our ability to design appropriate biomimetic 3D scaffolds and injectable cell carriers for advanced regenerative therapies.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ma, C., & Liu, X.

citation count

  • 12

publication date

  • January 2017