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Biomacromolecules. 2011 Sep 12;12(9):3156-65. doi: 10.1021/bm200618w. Epub 2011 Aug 11.

Development of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) fibers for skin tissue engineering: effects of topography, mechanical, and chemical stimuli.

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Centre for Nanotechnology & Advanced Biomaterials, SASTRA University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.


Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV), a biodegradable polyester, was electrospun to form defect-free fibers with high surface-area-to-volume ratio for skin regeneration. Several parameters such as solvent ratio, polymer concentration, applied voltage, flow rate, and tip-to-target distance were optimized to achieve defect-free morphology. The average diameter of the PHBV fibers was 724 ± 91 nm. PHBV was also solvent-cast to form 2-D films, and its mechanical properties, porosity, and degradation rates were compared with PHBV fibers. Our results demonstrate that PHBV fibers exhibited higher porosity, increased ductility, and faster degradation rate when compared with PHBV 2-D films (p < 0.05). In vitro studies with PHBV fibers and 2-D films were carried out to evaluate the adhesion, viability, proliferation, and gene expression of human skin fibroblasts. Cells adhered and proliferated on both PHBV fibers and 2-D films. However, the proliferation of cells on the surface of PHBV fibers was comparable to tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS, control) (p > 0.05). The gene expression of collagen I and elastin was significantly up-regulated when compared with TCPS control, whereas collagen III was down-regulated on PHBV fibers and 2-D film after 14 days in culture. The less ductile PHBV 2-D films showed higher levels of elastin expression. Furthermore, the PHBV fibers in the presence and absence of an angiogenesis factor (R-Spondin 1) were evaluated for their wound healing capacity in a rat model. The wound contracture in R-Spondin-1-loaded PHBV fibers was found to be significantly higher when compared with PHBV fibers alone after 7 days (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the presence of fibers promoted an increase in collagen and aided re-epithelialization. Thus our results demonstrate that the topography and mechanical and chemical stimuli have a pronounced influence on the cell proliferation, gene expression, and wound healing.

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