A Biomimetic Poly(vinyl alcohol)–Carrageenan Composite Scaffold with Oriented Microarchitecture

Abstract

In general, the design of a scaffold should imitate certain advantageous properties of native extracellular matrix (ECM) to operate as a temporary ECM for cells. From this perspective, a biomimetic scaffold was prepared using poly­(vinyl alcohol) and carrageenan in which axially oriented pore structure can be formed through a facile unidirectional freeze–thaw method. We examined the feasibility of this oriented scaffold, which has better physicochemical properties than a non-oriented scaffold fabricated by the conventional method. The microenvironment of this oriented scaffold could imitate biochemical and physical cues of natural cartilage ECM for guiding spatial organization and proliferation of cells in vitro, indicating its potential in cartilage repair strategy. Furthermore, the biocompatibility of the scaffold in vivo was demonstrated in a subcutaneous rat model, which revealed uniform infiltration and survival of newly formed tissue into the oriented scaffold after 4 weeks with only a minimal inflammatory response being observed over the course of the experiments. These results together indicated that the present biomimetic scaffold with oriented microarchitecture could be a promising candidate for cartilage tissue engineering

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