Fabrication of PU/PEGMA crosslinked hybrid scaffolds by in situ UV photopolymerization favoring human endothelial cells growth for vascular tissue engineering


Poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) was introduced into a polyurethane (PU) solution in order to prepare electrospun scaffold with improving the biocompatibility by electrospinning technology for potential application as small diameter vascular scaffolds. Crosslinked electrospun PU/PEGMA hybrid nanofibers were fabricated by a reactive electrospinning process with N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide as crosslinker and benzophenone as photoinitiator. The photoinduced polymerization and crosslinking reaction took place simultaneously during the electrospinning process. The electrospinning solutions with various weight ratios of PU/PEGMA were successfully electrospun. No significant difference in the scaffold morphology was found by SEM when PEGMA content was <20 wt%. The crosslinked fibrous scaffolds of PU/PEGMA exhibited higher mechanical strength than the pure PU scaffold. The hydrophilicity of scaffolds was controlled by varying the PU/PEGMA weight ratio. The tissue compatibility of electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds were tested using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Cell morphology and cell proliferation were measured by SEM, fluorescence microscopy and thiazolyl blue assay (MTT) after 1, 3, 7 days of culture. The results indicated that the cell morphology and proliferation on the crosslinked PU/PEGMA scaffolds were better than that on the pure PU scaffold. Furthermore, the appropriate hydrophilic surface with water contact angle in the range of 55–75° was favorable of improvement the HUVECs adhesion and proliferation. Cells seeded on the crosslinked PU/PEGMA (80/20) scaffolds infiltrated into the scaffolds after 7 days of growth. These results indicated the crosslinked electrospun PU/PEGMA nanofibrous scaffolds were potential substitutes for artificial vascular scaffolds.
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