Three-dimensional scaffolds for tissue engineering: the importance of uniformity in pore size and structure.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, United States.
Langmuir (Impact Factor: 4.38). 12/2010; 26(24):19001-6. DOI: 10.1021/la104206h
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To validate the importance of uniformity in pore size and structure of a scaffold for tissue engineering, we fabricated two types of scaffolds with uniform (inverse opal scaffolds) and nonuniform pore sizes and structures, and then evaluated their properties in terms of diffusion of macromolecules, spatial distribution of fibroblasts, and differentiation of preosteoblasts. Our results confirmed the superior performance of the inverse opal scaffolds due to the uniform pore size, homogeneous environment, and high interconnectivity: a higher diffusion rate, a uniform distribution of cells, and a higher degree of differentiation. In addition, we found that both the differentiation of cells and secretion of extracellular matrix were dependent on the properties of the individual pore to which the cells were attached, rather than the bulk properties of a scaffold. Our results clearly indicate that inverse opal scaffolds could provide a better microenvironment for cells in comparison to a scaffold with nonuniform size and structure.

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