Neural tissue engineering may be a promising option for neural repair treatment, for which a well-designed scaffold is essential. Smart materials that can stimulate neurite extension and outgrowth have been investigated as potential scaffolding materials. A piezoelectric polymer polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE) was used to fabricate electrospun aligned and random scaffolds having nano- or micron-sized fiber dimensions. The advantage of using a piezoelectric polymer is its intrinsic electrical properties. The piezoelectric characteristics of PVDF-TrFE scaffolds were shown to be enhanced by annealing. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons attached to all fibrous scaffolds. Neurites extended radially on random scaffolds, whereas aligned scaffolds directed neurite outgrowth for all fiber dimensions. Neurite extension was greatest on aligned, annealed PVDF-TrFE having micron-sized fiber dimensions in comparison with annealed and as-spun random PVDF-TrFE scaffolds. DRG on micron-sized aligned, as-spun and annealed PVDF-TrFE also had the lowest aspect ratio amongst all scaffolds, including non-piezoelectric PVDF and collagen-coated substrates. Findings from this study demonstrate the potential use of a piezoelectric fibrous scaffold for neural repair applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Molecular Biology
- Neural tissue engineering