Nanofiber scaffolds, produced by the electrospinning technique, have gained widespread attention in tissue engineering due to their morphological similarities to the native extracellular matrix. For cartilage repair, studies have examined their feasibility; however these studies have been limited, excluding the influence of other scaffold design features. This study evaluated the effect of scaffold design, specifically examining a range of nano to micron-sized fibers and resulting pore size and mechanical properties, on human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from the adult bone marrow during chondrogenesis. MSC differentiation was examined on these scaffolds with an emphasis on temporal gene expression of chondrogenic markers and the pluripotent gene, Sox2, which has yet to be explored for MSCs during chondrogenesis and in combination with tissue engineering scaffolds. Chondrogenic markers of aggrecan, chondroadherin, sox9, and collagen type II were highest for cells on micron-sized fibers (5 and 9 μm) with pore sizes of 27 and 29 μm, respectively, in comparison to cells on nano-sized fibers (300 nm and 600 to 1400 nm) having pore sizes of 2 and 3 μm, respectively. Undifferentiated MSCs expressed high levels of the Sox2 gene but displayed negligible levels on all scaffolds with or without the presence of inductive factors, suggesting that the physical features of the scaffold play an important role in differentiation. Micron-sized fibers with large pore structures and mechanical properties comparable to the cartilage ECM enhanced chondrogenesis, demonstrating architectural features as well as mechanical properties of electrospun fibrous scaffolds enhance differentiation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering