Porous nanohydroxyapatite (nanoHA) is a promising bone substitute, but it is brittle, which limits its utility for load bearing applications. To address this issue, herein, biodegradable electrospun microfibrous sheets of poly(L-lactic acid)-(PLLA)–polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) were incorporated into a gelatin–nanoHA matrix which was investigated for its mechanical properties, the physical integration of the fibers with the matrix, cell infiltration, osteogenic differentiation and bone regeneration. The inclusion of sacrificial fibers like PVA along with PLLA and leaching resulted in improved cellular infiltration towards the center of the scaffold. Furthermore, the treatment of PLLA fibers with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide enhanced their hydrophilicity, ensuring firm anchorage between the fibers and the gelatin–HA matrix. The incorporation of PLLA microfibers within the gelatin–nanoHA matrix reduced the brittleness of the scaffolds, the effect being proportional to the number of layers of fibrous sheets in the matrix. The proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells was augmented on the fibrous scaffolds in comparison to those scaffolds devoid of fibers. Finally, the scaffold could promote cell infiltration, together with bone regeneration, upon implantation in a rabbit femoral cortical defect within 4 weeks. The bone regeneration potential was significantly higher when compared to commercially available HA (Surgiwear™). Thus, this biomimetic, porous, 3D composite scaffold could be offered as a promising candidate for bone regeneration in orthopedics.
B. Halima Shamaz, Anitha, A., Vijayamohan, M., Kuttappan, S., Nair, S., and Dr. Manitha B. Nair, “Relevance of fiber integrated gelatin-nanohydroxyapatite composite scaffold for bone tissue regeneration”, Nanotechnology, vol. 26, no. 40, p. 405101, 2015.