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Modulation of Cellular Colonization of Porous Polyurethane Scaffolds via the Control of Pore Interconnection Size and Nanoscale Surface Modifications

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journal contribution
posted on 10.05.2019, 00:00 by G. Lutzweiler, J. Barthes, G. Koenig, H. Kerdjoudj, J. Mayingi, F. Boulmedais, P. Schaaf, W. Drenckhan, N. E. Vrana
Full-scale cell penetration within porous scaffolds is required to obtain functional connective tissue components in tissue engineering applications. For this aim, we produced porous polyurethane structures with well-controlled pore and interconnection sizes. Although the influence of the pore size on cellular behavior is widely studied, we focused on the impact of the size of the interconnections on the colonization by NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and Wharton’s jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs). To render the material hydrophilic and allow good material wettability, we treated the material either by plasma or by polydopamine (PDA) coating. We show that cells weakly adhere on these surfaces. Keeping the average pore diameter constant at 133 μm, we compare two structures, one with LARGE (52 μm) and one with SMALL (27 μm) interconnection diameters. DNA quantification and extracellular matrix (ECM) production reveal that larger interconnections is more suitable for cells to move across the scaffold and form a three-dimensional cellular network. We argue that LARGE interconnections favor cell communication between different pores, which then favors the production of the ECM. Moreover, PDA treatment shows a truly beneficial effect on fibroblast viability and on matrix production, whereas plasma treatment shows the same effect for WJMSCs. We, therefore, claim that both pore interconnection size and surface treatment play a significant role to improve the quality of integration of tissue engineering scaffolds.