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Biomaterials. 2006 Feb;27(4):596-606. Epub 2005 Jul 15.

Effect of fiber diameter on spreading, proliferation, and differentiation of osteoblastic cells on electrospun poly(lactic acid) substrates.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0211, USA.


Electrospinning is a promising method to construct fused-fiber biomaterial scaffolds for tissue engineering applications, but the efficacy of this approach depends on how substrate topography affects cell function. Previously, it has been shown that linear, parallel raised features with length scales of 0.5-2 microm direct cell orientation through the phenomenon of contact guidance, and enhance phenotypic markers of osteoblastic differentiation. To determine how the linear, random raised features produced by electrospinning affect proliferation and differentiation of osteoprogenitor cells, poly(lactic acid) and poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(lactic acid) diblock copolymers were electrospun with mean fiber diameters of 0.14-2.1 microm onto rigid supports. MC3T3-E1 osteoprogenitor cells cultured on fiber surfaces in the absence of osteogenic factors exhibited a lower cell density after 7 and 14 days of culture than cells cultured on spin-coated surfaces, but cell density increased with fiber diameter. However, in the presence of osteogenic factors (2 mM beta-glycerophosphate, 0.13 mM L-ascorbate-2-phosphate), cell density after 7 and 14 days of culture on fiber surfaces was comparable to or exceeded spin-coated controls, and alkaline phosphatase activity after 14 days was comparable. Examination of cell morphology revealed that cells grown on fibers had smaller projected areas than those on planar surfaces. However, cells attached to electrospun substrates of 2.1 microm diameter fibers exhibited a higher cell aspect ratio than cells on smooth surfaces. These studies show that topographical factors designed into biomaterial scaffolds can regulate spreading, orientation, and proliferation of osteoblastic cells.

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