Nanofiber scaffolds are effective for tissue engineering since they emulate the fibrous nanostructure of native extracellular matrix (ECM). Although electrospinning has been the most common approach for fabricating nanofiber scaffolds, airbrushing approaches have also been advanced for making nanofibers. For airbrushing, compressed gas is used to blow polymer solution through a small nozzle which shears the polymer solution into fibers. Our goals were 1) to assess the versatility of airbrushing, 2) to compare the properties of airbrushed and electrospun nanofiber scaffolds and 3) to test the ability of airbrushed nanofibers to support stem cell differentiation. The results demonstrated that airbrushing could produce nanofibers from a wide range of polymers and onto a wide range of targets. Airbrushing was safer, 10-fold faster, 100-fold less expensive and able to deposit nanofibers onto a broader range of targets than electrospinning. Airbrushed nanofiber scaffolds had a looser nanofiber packing density than electrospun nanofiber scaffolds, which gave airbrushed nanofiber scaffolds higher porosity and lower stiffness. Airbrushed and electrospun nanofibers also had different morphologies; airbrushed nanofibers formed bundles of aligned nanofibers while electrospinning produced un-aligned single nanofibers. Airbrushed nanofiber scaffolds fabricated from 4 different polymers were each able to support osteogenic differentiation of primary human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs). Finally, the differences in airbrushed versus electrospun nanofiber morphology caused differences in hBMSC shape where cells had a smaller spread area and a smaller volume on airbrushed nanofiber scaffolds. These results highlight the differences in airbrushed and electrospun nanofiber scaffolds and demonstrate that airbrushed nanofiber scaffolds can support stem cell differentiation.
Citation: Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B-Applied Biomaterials
Pub Type: Journals
3D scaffold, airbrushing, bone marrow stromal cell, cell adhesion, cell differentiation, cell morphology, cell proliferation, electrospinning, nanofiber, polymer scaffold, stem cell