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Biomed Mater. 2008 Sep;3(3):034002. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/3/3/034002. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Electrospun nanofiber scaffolds: engineering soft tissues.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia, VA 22908, USA.


Electrospinning has emerged to be a simple, elegant and scalable technique to fabricate polymeric nanofibers. Pure polymers as well as blends and composites of both natural and synthetics have been successfully electrospun into nanofiber matrices. Physiochemical properties of nanofiber matrices can be controlled by manipulating electrospinning parameters to meet the requirements of a specific application. Such efforts include the fabrication of fiber matrices containing nanofibers, microfibers, combination of nano-microfibers and also different fiber orientation/alignments. Polymeric nanofiber matrices have been extensively investigated for diversified uses such as filtration, barrier fabrics, wipes, personal care, biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. Recently electrospun nanofiber matrices have gained a lot of attention, and are being explored as scaffolds in tissue engineering due to their properties that can modulate cellular behavior. Electrospun nanofiber matrices show morphological similarities to the natural extra-cellular matrix (ECM), characterized by ultrafine continuous fibers, high surface-to-volume ratio, high porosity and variable pore-size distribution. Efforts have been made to modify nanofiber surfaces with several bioactive molecules to provide cells with the necessary chemical cues and a more in vivo like environment. The current paper provides an overlook on such efforts in designing nanofiber matrices as scaffolds in the regeneration of various soft tissues including skin, blood vessel, tendon/ligament, cardiac patch, nerve and skeletal muscle.

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