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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2008;19(5):623-34. doi: 10.1163/156856208784089652.

Characterization of neural stem cells on electrospun poly(epsilon-caprolactone) submicron scaffolds: evaluating their potential in neural tissue engineering.

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  • 1Department of Materials Engineering, Division of Biological Engineering, CRC for Polymers, Monash University, PO Box 69M, Melbourne, Victoria 3800, Australia.


Development of biomaterials with specific characteristics to influence cell behaviour has played an important role in exploiting strategies to promote nerve regeneration. The effect of three-dimensional (3D) non-woven electrospun poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds on the behaviour of rat brain-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) is reported. The interaction of NSCs on the randomly orientated submicron (PCL) fibrous scaffolds, with an average fibre diameter of 750 +/- 100 nm, was investigated. The PCL scaffolds were modified with ethylenediamine (ED) to determine if amino functionalisation and changes in surface tension of the fibrous scaffolds affected the proliferation and differentiation characteristics of NSCs. Surface tension of the fibrous scaffold increased upon treatment with ED which was attributed to amine moieties present on the surface of the fibres. Although surface treatment did not change the differentiation of the NSCs, the modified scaffolds were more hydrophilic, resulting in a significant increase in the number of adhered cells, and increased spreading throughout the entirety of the scaffold. When the NSCs were seeded on the PCL scaffolds in the presence of 10% FBS, the stem cells differentiated primarily into oligodendrocytes, indicating that electrospun PCL has the capacity to direct the differentiation of NSCs towards a specific lineage. The data presented here is useful for the development of electrospun biomaterial scaffolds for neural tissue engineering, to regulate the proliferation and differentiation of NSCs.

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