Microporous dermal-like electrospun scaffolds promote accelerated skin regeneration

Academic Article


  • © Copyright 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The goal of this study was to synthesize skin substitutes that blend native extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules with synthetic polymers which have favorable mechanical properties. To this end, scaffolds were electrospun from collagen I (col) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), and then pores were introduced mechanically to promote fibroblast infiltration, and subsequent filling of the pores with ECM. A 70:30 col/PCL ratio was determined to provide optimal support for dermal fibroblast growth, and a pore diameter, 160 μm, was identified that enabled fibroblasts to infiltrate and fill pores with native matrix molecules, including fibronectin and collagen I. Mechanical testing of 70:30 col/PCL scaffolds with 160 μm pores revealed a tensile strength of 1.4 MPa, and the scaffolds also exhibited a low rate of contraction (<19%). Upon implantation, scaffolds should support epidermal regeneration; we, therefore, evaluated keratinocyte growth on fibroblast-embedded scaffolds with matrix-filled pores. Keratinocytes formed a stratified layer on the surface of fibroblast-remodeled scaffolds, and staining for cytokeratin 10 revealed terminally differentiated keratinocytes at the apical surface. When implanted, 70:30 col/PCL scaffolds degraded within 3-4 weeks, an optimal time frame for degradation in vivo. Finally, 70:30 col/PCL scaffolds with or without 160 μm pores were implanted into full-thickness critical-sized skin defects. Relative to nonporous scaffolds or sham wounds, scaffolds with 160 μm pores induced accelerated wound closure, and stimulated regeneration of healthy dermal tissue, evidenced by a more normal-appearing matrix architecture, blood vessel in-growth, and hair follicle development. Collectively, these results suggest that microporous electrospun scaffolds are effective substrates for skin regeneration.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bonvallet PP; Culpepper BK; Bain JL; Schultz MJ; Thomas SJ; Bellis SL
  • Start Page

  • 2434
  • End Page

  • 2444
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 17-18