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Int J Artif Organs. 2010 Feb;33(2):76-85.

Comparative study of different techniques for the sterilization of poly-L-lactide electrospun microfibers: effectiveness vs. material degradation.

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Laboratory of Chemistry and Biomaterials, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Electrospinning of biopolymeric scaffolds is a new and effective approach for creating replacement tissues to repair defects and/or damaged tissues with direct clinical application. However, many hurdles and technical concerns regarding biological issues, such as cell retention and the ability to grow, still need to be overcome to gain full access to the clinical arena. Interaction with the host human tissues, immunogenicity, pathogen transmission as well as production costs, technical expertise, and good manufacturing and laboratory practice requirements call for careful consideration when aiming at the production of a material that is available off-the-shelf, to be used immediately in operative settings. The issue of sterilization is one of the most important steps for the clinical application of these scaffolds. Nevertheless, relatively few studies have been performed to systematically investigate how sterilization treatments may affect the properties of electrospun polymers for tissue engineering. This paper presents the results of a comparative study of different sterilization techniques applied to an electrospun poly-L-lactide scaffold: soaking in absolute ethanol, dry oven and autoclave treatments, UV irradiation, and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma treatment. Morphological and chemical characterization was coupled with microbiological sterility assay to validate the examined sterilization techniques in terms of effectiveness and modifications to the scaffold. The results of this study reveal that UV irradiation and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma are the most effective sterilization techniques, as they ensure sterility of the electrospun scaffolds without affecting their chemical and morphological features.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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