Dalton, Paul D., Klinkhammer, Kristina, Salber, Jochen, Klee, Doris and Möller, Martin
Direct in vitro electrospinning with polymer melts.
Biomacromolecules, 7, . (doi:10.1021/bm050777q).
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The electrospinning of polymer melts can offer an advantage over solution electrospinning, in the development of layered tissue constructs for tissue engineering. Melt electrospinning does not require a solvent, of which many are cytotoxic in nature, and the use of nonwater soluble polymers allows the collection of fibers on water or onto cells. In this article, melt electrospinning of a blend of PEO-block-PCL with PCL was performed with in vitro cultured fibroblasts as the collection target. The significant parameters governing electrospinning polymer melts were determined before electrospinning directly onto fibroblasts. In general, a high electric field resulted in the most homogeneous and smallest fibers, although it is important that an optimal pump rate to the spinneret needs to be determined for different configurations. Many parameters governing melt electrospinning differ to those reported for solution electrospinning: the pump rate was a magnitude lower and the viscosity a magnitude higher than successful parameters for solution electrospinning. Cell vitality was maintained throughout the electrospinning process. Six days after electrospinning, fibroblasts adhered to the electrospun fibers and appeared to detach from the underlying flat substrate. The morphology of the fibroblasts changed from spread and flat, to long and spindle-shaped as adherence onto the fiber progressed. Therefore, an important step for producing layer-on-layer tissue constructs of cells and polymers in view of scaffold construction for tissue engineering was successfully demonstrated. The process of using cultured cells as the collection target was termed "direct in vitro electrospinning".
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