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ICE Krakow

ICE Krakow

ul. Marii Konopnickiej 17 30-302 Kraków


Reddy Gudeti, Pavan Kumar (Biofabrication and Bio-Instructive Materials, Biotechnology Center, The Silesian University of Technology )


Human tissues are structurally and compositionally heterogeneous, often consisting of gradients in architecture, extracellular matrix constituents, cell phenotypes, and biochemical factors. Mimicking the structural complexity through scaffold designs for in-vitro tissue regeneration is challenging and yet to be achieved. Melt Electrowriting (MEW) is a high-resolution additive manufacturing method that holds great promise for reconstructing such native gradients. It combines 3D printing and electrospinning principles, allowing thermoplastic polymers to print with unrepresented precision.

The project aims to obtain the gradient scaffolds with different designs using the MEW technique and define their detailed mechanical and biological properties.

MEW was used to fabricate micro-porous polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds with different pore sizes and fiber orientations with similar dimensions of tendons/ligaments collagen fibers (10 - 20µm in diameter). Light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and tensile tests were performed to investigate the morphological and mechanical properties. Most importantly, a comprehensive biological evaluation was done by culturing mouse fibroblasts (NIH3T3) on MEW scaffolds: life/dead assay, Alamar Blue assay, and immunostaining were performed.

Scaffolds with different fiber orientations and pore sizes were obtained with high precision. Uniaxial tensile tests revealed different elasticities of the scaffolds depending on the printed design. The cell studies demonstrated that the MEW PCL substrates are biocompatible. Cell attachment to fibers and pore bridging were improved for the scaffolds coated with Poly-D-Lysine. Cell performance was dependent on the design proposed.

The mechanical and biological performance of the MEW printed scaffolds is dependent on the proposed design and can be tuned in a tissue-specific manner. In future studies, cell attachment and pore bridging kinetics between fibers will be optimized further by adding functional groups on the surface of MEW PCL scaffolds and using different materials for printing. By printing anatomically relevant architectures closer mimics to native tissues can be obtained.


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