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Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2015 Nov 1;56:141-53. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

Composite ECM-alginate microfibers produced by microfluidics as scaffolds with biomineralization potential.

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Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.
Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


A novel approach to produce artificial bone composites (microfibers) with distinctive features mimicking natural tissue was investigated. Currently proposed inorganic materials (e.g. apatite matrixes) lack self-assembly and thereby limit interactions between cells and the material. The present work investigates the feasibility of creating "bio-inspired materials" specifically designed to overcome certain limitations inherent to current biomaterials. We examined the dimensions, morphology, and constitutive features of a composite hydrogel which combined an alginate based microfiber with a gelatin solution or a particulate form of urinary bladder matrix (UBM). The effectiveness of the composite microfibers to induce and modulate osteoblastic differentiation in three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds without altering the viability and morphological characteristics of the cells was investigated. The present study describes a novel alginate microfiber production method with the use of microfluidics. The microfluidic procedure allowed for precise tuning of microfibers which resulted in enhanced viability and function of embedded cells.


Alginate; Microfibers; Microfluidics; Osteoblastic differentiation; UBM

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