Novel biodegradable fibres for applications in tissue engineering and drug delivery
The preparation and characterisation of novel biodegradable polymer fibres for application in tissue engineering and drug delivery are reported. Poly(e-caprolactone) (PCL) fibres were produced by wet spinning from solutions in acetone under low shear (gravity flow) conditions. The tensile strength and stiffness of as-spun fibres were highly dependent on the concentration of the spinning solution. Use of a 6% w/v solution resulted in fibres having strength and stiffness of 1.8 MPa and 0.01 GPa respectively, whereas these values increased to 9.9 MPa and 0.1 GPa when fibres were produced from 20% w/v solutions. Cold drawing to an extension of 500% resulted in further increases in fibre strength (up to 50 MPa) and stiffness (0.3 GPa). Hot drawing to 500% further increased the fibre strength (up to 81 MPa) and stiffness (0.5 GPa). The surface morphology of as-spun fibres was modified, to yield a directional grooved pattern by drying in contact with a mandrel having a machined topography characterised by a peak-peak separation of 91 mm and a peak height of 30 mm. Differential scanning calorimetery (DSC) analysis of as-spun fibres revealed the characteristic melting point of PCL at around 58°C and a % crystallinity of approximately 60%. The biocompatibility of as-spun fibres was assessed using cell culture. The number of attached 3T3 Swiss mouse fibroblasts, C2C12 mouse myoblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) on as-spun, 500% cold drawn, and gelatin coated PCL fibres were observed. The results showed that the fibres promoted cell proliferation for 9 days in cell culture and was slightly lower than on tissue culture plastic. The morphology of all cell lines was assessed on the various PCL fibres using scanning electron microscopy. The cell function of HUVECs growing on the as-spun PCL fibres was evaluated.