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Acta Biomater. 2016 Jan;29:188-97. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2015.10.019. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

Production of ascorbic acid releasing biomaterials for pelvic floor repair.

Author information

  • 1Department of Materials Science Engineering, Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Urology Clinic, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
  • 2Department of Materials Science Engineering, Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
  • 3Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Urology Clinic, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
  • 4Department of Materials Science Engineering, Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Electronic address:



An underlying abnormality in collagen turnover is implied in the occurrence of complications and recurrences after mesh augmented pelvic floor repair surgeries. Ascorbic acid is a potent stimulant of collagen synthesis. The aim of this study is to produce ascorbic acid releasing poly-lactic acid (PLA) scaffolds and evaluate them for their effects on extracellular matrix production and the strength of the materials.


Scaffolds which contained either l-ascorbic acid (AA) and Ascorbate-2-Phosphate (A2P) were produced with emulsion electrospinning. The release of both drugs was measured by UV spectrophotometry. Human dermal fibroblasts were seeded on scaffolds and cultured for 2weeks. Cell attachment, viability and total collagen production were evaluated as well as mechanical properties.


No significant differences were observed between AA, A2P, Vehicle and PLA scaffolds in terms of fibre diameter and pore size. The encapsulation efficiency and successful release of both AA and A2P were demonstrated. Both AA and A2P containing scaffolds were significantly more hydrophilic and stronger in both dry and wet states compared to PLA scaffolds. Fibroblasts produced more collagen on scaffolds containing either AA or A2P compared to cells grown on control scaffolds.


This study is the first to directly compare the two ascorbic acid derivatives in a tissue engineered scaffold and shows that both AA and A2P releasing electrospun PLA scaffolds increased collagen production of fibroblasts to similar extents but AA scaffolds seemed to be more hydrophilic and stronger compared to A2P scaffolds.


Mesh augmented surgical repair of the pelvic floor currently relies on non-degradable materials which results in severe complications in some patients. There is an unmet and urgent need for better pelvic floor repair materials. Our current understanding suggests that the ideal material should be able to better integrate into sites of implantation both biologically and mechanically. The impact of vitamin C on extracellular matrix production is well established but we in this study have undertaken a critical comparison of two derivatives of vitamin C as they are released from a biodegradable scaffold. This strategy proved to be equally useful with both derivatives in terms of new tissue production yet we observed significant differences in mechanical properties of these biomaterials.


Collagen; Extracellular matrix; Pelvic floor tissue engineering; Polylactic acid

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