Tailorable Surface Morphology of 3D Scaffolds by Combining Additive Manufacturing with Thermally Induced Phase Separation
The functionalization of biomaterials substrates used for cell culture is gearing towards an increasing control over cell activity. Although a number of biomaterials have been successfully modified by different strategies to display tailored physical and chemical surface properties, it is still challenging to step from 2D substrates to 3D scaffolds with instructive surface properties for cell culture and tissue regeneration. In this study, additive manufacturing and thermally induced phase separation are combined to create 3D scaffolds with tunable surface morphology from polymer gels. Surface features vary depending on the gel concentration, the exchanging temperature, and the nonsolvent used. When preosteoblasts (MC-3T3 cells) are cultured on these scaffolds, a significant increase in alkaline phosphatase activity is measured for submicron surface topography, suggesting a potential role on early cell differentiation.