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Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2011 Jan 1;31(1):22-29.

Impact of Scaffold Micro and Macro Architecture on Schwann Cell Proliferation under Dynamic Conditions in a Rotating Wall Vessel Bioreactor.

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Department of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biomedical Engineering Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, 07030.


Over the last decade tissue engineering has emerged as a powerful alternative to regenerate lost tissues owing to trauma or tumor. Evidence shows that Schwann cell containing scaffolds have improved performance in vivo as compared to scaffolds that depend on cellularization post implantation. However, owing to limited supply of cells from the patients themselves, several approaches have been taken to enhance cell proliferation rates to produce complete and uniform cellularization of scaffolds. The most common approach is the application of a bioreactor to enhance cell proliferation rate and therefore reduce the time needed to obtain sufficiently significant number of glial cells, prior to implantation.In this study, we show the application of a rotating wall bioreactor system for studying Schwann cell proliferation on nanofibrous spiral shaped scaffolds, prepared by solvent casting and salt leaching techniques. The scaffolds were fabricated from polycaprolactone (PCL), which has ideal mechanical properties and upon degradation does not produce acidic byproducts. The spiral scaffolds were coated with aligned or random nanofibers, produced by electrospinning, to provide a substrate that mimics the native extracellular matrix and the essential contact guidance cues.At the 4 day time point, an enhanced rate of cell proliferation was observed on the open structured nanofibrous spiral scaffolds in a rotating wall bioreactor, as compared to static culture conditions. However, the cell proliferation rate on the other contemporary scaffolds architectures such as the tubular and cylindrical scaffolds show reduced cell proliferation in the bioreactor as compared to static conditions, at the same time point. Moreover, the rotating wall bioreactor does not alter the orientation or the phenotype of the Schwann cells on the aligned nanofiber containing scaffolds, wherein, the cells remain aligned along the length of the scaffolds. Therefore, these open structured spiral scaffolds pre-cultured with Schwann cells, in bioreactors could potentially shorten the time needed for grafts for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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