Cell infiltration and growth in a low density, uncompressed three-dimensional electrospun nanofibrous scaffold

Academic Article


  • A limiting factor of traditional electrospinning is that the electrospun scaffolds consist entirely of tightly packed nanofiber layers that only provide a superficial porous structure due to the sheet-like assembly process. This unavoidable characteristic hinders cell infiltration and growth throughout the nanofibrous scaffolds. Numerous strategies have been tried to overcome this challenge, including the incorporation of nanoparticles, using larger microfibers, or removing embedded salt or water-soluble fibers to increase porosity. However, these methods still produce sheet-like nanofibrous scaffolds, failing to create a porous three-dimensional scaffold with good structural integrity. Thus, we have developed a three-dimensional cotton ball-like electrospun scaffold that consists of an accumulation of nanofibers in a low density and uncompressed manner. Instead of a traditional flat-plate collector, a grounded spherical dish and an array of needle-like probes were used to create a Focused, Low density, Uncompressed nanoFiber (FLUF) mesh scaffold. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the cotton ball-like scaffold consisted of electrospun nanofibers with a similar diameter but larger pores and less-dense structure compared to the traditional electrospun scaffolds. In addition, laser confocal microscopy demonstrated an open porosity and loosely packed structure throughout the depth of the cotton ball-like scaffold, contrasting the superficially porous and tightly packed structure of the traditional electrospun scaffold. Cells seeded on the cotton ball-like scaffold infiltrated into the scaffold after 7 days of growth, compared to no penetrating growth for the traditional electrospun scaffold. Quantitative analysis showed approximately a 40% higher growth rate for cells on the cotton ball-like scaffold over a 7 day period, possibly due to the increased space for in-growth within the three-dimensional scaffolds. Overall, this method assembles a nanofibrous scaffold that is more advantageous for highly porous interconnectivity and demonstrates great potential for tackling current challenges of electrospun scaffolds. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Biomaterials  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Blakeney BA; Tambralli A; Anderson JM; Andukuri A; Lim DJ; Dean DR; Jun HW
  • Start Page

  • 1583
  • End Page

  • 1590
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 6