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Crimped Nanofibrous Biomaterials Mimic Microstructure and Mechanics of Native Tissue and Alter Strain Transfer to Cells

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posted on 2016-12-08, 00:00 authored by Spencer E. Szczesny, Tristan P. Driscoll, Hsiao-Yun Tseng, Pang-Ching Liu, Su-Jin Heo, Robert L. Mauck, Pen-Hsiu G. Chao
To fully recapitulate tissue microstructure and mechanics, fiber crimping must exist within biomaterials used for tendon/ligament engineering. Existing crimped nanofibrous scaffolds produced via electrospinning are dense materials that prevent cellular infiltration into the scaffold interior. In this study, we used a sacrificial fiber population to increase the scaffold porosity and evaluated the effect on fiber crimping. We found that increasing scaffold porosity increased fiber crimping and ensured that the fibers properly uncrimped as the scaffolds were stretched by minimizing fiber–fiber interactions. Constitutive modeling demonstrated that the fiber uncrimping produced a nonlinear mechanical behavior similar to that of native tendon and ligament. Interestingly, fiber crimping altered strain transmission to the nuclei of cells seeded on the scaffolds, which may account for previously observed changes in gene expression. These crimped biomaterials are useful for developing functional fiber-reinforced tissues and for studying the effects of altered fiber crimping due to damage or degeneration.

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