Electrically polarized PLLA nanofibers as neural tissue engineering scaffolds with improved neuritogenesis


Tissue engineering is evolving towards the production of smart platforms exhibiting stimulatory cues to guide tissue regeneration. This work explores the benefits of electrical polarization to produce more efficient neural tissue engineering platforms. Poly (L-lactic) acid (PLLA)-based scaffolds were prepared as solvent cast films and electrospun aligned nanofibers, and electrically polarized by an in-lab built corona poling device. The characterization of the platforms by thermally stimulated depolarization currents reveals a polarization of 60 x 10(-10)C cm(-2) that is stable on poled electrospun nanofibers for up to 6 months. Further in vitro studies using neuroblastoma cells reveals that platforms' polarization potentiates Retinoic Acid-induced neuronal differentiation. Additionally, in differentiating embryonic cortical neurons, poled aligned nanofibers further increased neurite outgrowth by 30% (+70 mu m) over non-poled aligned nanofibers, and by 50% (+100 mu m) over control conditions. Therefore, the synergy of topographical cues and electrical polarization of poled aligned nanofibers places them as promising biocompatible and bioactive platforms for neural tissue regeneration. Given their long lasting induced polarization, these PLLA poled nanofibrous scaffolds can be envisaged as therapeutic devices of long shelf life for neural repair applications. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.




Biophysics; Chemistry; Materials Science


Barroca, N; Marote, A; Vieira, SI; Almeida, A; Fernandes, MHV; Vilarinho, PM; Silva, OABDE

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The authors acknowledge Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT), Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional Portugal (FEDER), QREN-COMPETE Portugal (project PTDC/SAU-NMC/111980/2009), the Institute for Biomedicine (UID/BIM/04501/2013), CBC research unit (PEst-OE/SAU/UI0482/2011), the Associate Laboratory CICECO (PEst-C/CTM/LA0011/2013), and the QOPNA research unit (PEst-C/QUI/UI0062/2013) for funding support. Nathalie Barroca is thankful to FCT for the support under the Grant No. FRH/BD/47331/2008 and thankful to Abilio Barroca for his technical drawings for the corona poling device construction.

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