Collagen, thanks to its biocompatibility, biodegradability and weak antigenicity, is widely used in dressings and scaolds, also as electrospun fibers. Its mechanical stability can be improved by adding polycaprolactone (PCL), a synthetic and biodegradable aliphatic polyester. While previously collagen/PCL combinations were electrospun in solvents such as hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) or trifluoroethanol (TFE), more recently literature describes collagen/PCL nanofibers obtained in acidic aqueous solutions. A good morphology of the fibers represents in this case still a challenge, especially for high collagen/PCL ratios. In this work, thanks to preliminary rheological and physicochemical characterization of the solutions and to a Design of Experiments (DOE) approach on process parameters, regular and dimensionally uniform fibers were obtained with collagen/PCL ratios up to 1:2 and 1:1 w/w. Collagen ratio appeared relevant for mechanical strength of dry and hydrated fibers. WAXS and FTIR analysis showed that collagen denaturation is related both to the medium and to the electrospinning process. After one week in aqueous environment, collagen release was complete and a concentration dependent stimulatory eect on fibroblast growth was observed, suggesting the fiber suitability for wound healing. The positive effect of collagen on mechanical properties and on fibroblast biocompatibility was confirmed by a direct comparison of nanofiber performance after collagen substitution with gelatin.
Dalila Miele;Laura Catenacci;Silvia Rossi;Giuseppina Sandri;Milena Sorrenti;Federica Riva;Franca Ferrari;Carla Caramella;Maria Cristina Bonferoni
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