Mechanical properties of tissue engineering nanofibrous scaffolds are of importance because they not only determine their ease of application, but also influence the environment for cell growth and proliferation. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are natural renewable nanoparticles that have been widely used for manipulating nanofibers' mechanical properties. In this article, cellulose nanoparticles were incorporated into poly(caprolactone) (PCL) solution, and composite nanofibers were produced. Ozawa-Flynn-Wall (OFW) methodology and X-ray diffraction were used to investigate the effect of CNC incorporation on PCL crystalline structure and its biological properties. Results showed that CNC incorporation up to 1% increases the crystallization activation energy and reduces the crystal volume, while these factors remain constant above this critical concentration. MTT assay and microscopic images of seeded cells on the nanofiber scaffolds indicated increased cell growth on the samples containing CNC. This behavior could be attributed to their greater hydrophilicity, which was confirmed using parallel exponential kinetics (PEK) model fitting to results obtained from dynamic vapor sorption (DVS) studies. Superior performance of CNC containing samples was also confirmed by in vivo implantation on full-thickness wounds. The wound area faded away more rapidly in these samples. H&E and Masson's trichrome staining showed better regeneration and more developed tissues in wounds treated with PCL-CNC1% nanofibers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Prof. Chun Wang and Mr. Samuel Hanson for assistance with cell culture experiments. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility at the University of Minnesota, a member of the NSF funded Materials Research Facilities Network ( www.mrfn.org ) via the MRSEC program. This research was supported by Iran National Science Foundation (INSF: 98026496 ), National Elite Foundation (NEF), and Iran Nanotechnology Innovation Council (INIC). This work was financially supported by Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) through research Grant No.98-2-14-15190 .
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- Cellulose nanocrystal
- Tissue engineering
- Wound dressing