Indexed on: 18 Mar '16Published on: 18 Mar '16Published in: Materials Science and Engineering: C
Nerve tissue engineering (TE) requires biomimetic scaffolds providing essential chemical and topographical cues for nerve regeneration. Poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) is a biodegradable and elastic polymer that has gained great interest as a TE scaffolding biomaterial. However, uncured PGS is difficult to be electrospun into nanofibers. PGS would, therefore, require the addition of electrospinning agents. In this study, we modified PGS by using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) to synthesize PGS-based copolymers with methyl methacrylate (MMA). The synthesized PGS-PMMA copolymer showed a molecular weight of 82 kDa and a glass transition temperature of 115 °C. More importantly, the PGS-PMMA could be easily electrospun into nanofiber with a fiber diameter of 167 ± 33 nm. Blending gelatin into PGS-PMMA nanofibers was found to increase its hydrophilicity and biocompatibility. Rat PC12 cells were seeded onto the PGS-PMMA/gelatin nanofibers to investigate their potential for nerve regeneration. It was found that gelatin-containing PGS-based nanofibers promoted cell proliferation. The elongated cell morphology observed on such nanofibers indicated that the scaffolds could induce nerve stem cell differentiation. Overall, our study suggested that the synthesis of PGS-based copolymers might be a promising approach to enhance their processability, and therefore advancing bioscaffold engineering for various TE applications.