Fabrication and Evaluation of Electrospun, 3D-Bioplotted, and Combination of Electrospun/3D-Bioplotted Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering Applications

Electrospun scaffolds provide a dense framework of nanofibers with pore sizes and fiber diameters that closely resemble the architecture of native extracellular matrix. However, it generates limited three-dimensional structures of relevant physiological thicknesses. 3D printing allows digitally controlled fabrication of three-dimensional single/multimaterial constructs with precisely ordered fiber and pore architecture in a single build. However, this approach generally lacks the ability to achieve submicron resolution features to mimic native tissue. The goal of this study was to fabricate and evaluate 3D printed, electrospun, and combination of 3D printed/electrospun scaffolds to mimic the native architecture of heterogeneous tissue. We assessed their ability to support viability and proliferation of human adipose derived stem cells (hASC). Cells had increased proliferation and high viability over 21 days on all scaffolds. We further tested implantation of stacked-electrospun scaffold versus combined electrospun/3D scaffold on a cadaveric pig knee model and found that stacked-electrospun scaffold easily delaminated during implantation while the combined scaffold was easier to implant. Our approach combining these two commonly used scaffold fabrication technologies allows for the creation of a scaffold with more close resemblance to heterogeneous tissue architecture, holding great potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications of osteochondral tissue and other heterogeneous tissues.