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Science  18 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5618, pp. 395a
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5618.395a

In order to successfully grow replacement tissues or organs, one not only needs to grow the right cell types but also have the cells take on the correct overall shape, morphology, and porosity. Cells are thus typically cultured onto scaffolds, which need to be highly porous, with interconnected pores and large overall surface area. Previous efforts have focused on poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolactide), where the porous network was made by casting the polymer from solution, with the subsequent leaching of a secondary particulate phase to form the porous network. However, in these cases, the pore networks are often not interconnected, and residual solvent caused the scaffolds to shrink during the cell growth cycle.

Yoshimoto et al. explore the use of electrospinning to develop nonwoven, microporous scaffolds of poly(e-caprolactone) (PCL), a polymer that is known to have low toxicity and low cost and undergoes slow degradation. The scaffolds were seeded with mesenchymal stem cells, derived from the bone marrow of neonatal rats, and cultured for up to 4 weeks. Within 1 week, the cells produced extracellular matrix. At 4 weeks, type I collagen and mineralization were observed, and throughout the cell growth process the scaffolds did not show any shrinkage. Detailed analysis showed that the cell growth occurred throughout scaffolds, suggesting that electrospun PCL has tremendous potential as a scaffold material.—MSL

Biomaterials 24, 2077 (2003)

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