Solvent-free fabrication of three dimensionally aligned polycaprolactone microfibers for engineering of anisotropic tissues
Chua, Chee Kai
Leong, Kah Fai
Date of Issue2012
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Fabrication of aligned microfiber scaffolds is critical in successful engineering of anisotropic tissues such as tendon, ligaments and nerves. Conventionally, aligned microfiber scaffolds are two dimensional and predominantly fabricated by electrospinning which is solvent dependent. In this paper, we report a novel technique, named microfiber melt drawing, to fabricate a bundle of three dimensionally aligned polycaprolactone microfibers without using any organic solvent. This technique is simple yet effective. It has been demonstrated that polycaprolactone microfibers of 10 μm fiber diameter can be directly drawn from a 2 mm orifice. Orifice diameter, temperature and take-up speed significantly influence the final linear density and fiber diameter of the microfibers. Mechanical test suggests that mechanical properties such as stiffness and breaking force of microfiber bundles can be easily adjusted by the number of fibers. In vitro study shows that these microfibers are able to support the proliferation of human dermal fibroblasts over 7 days. In vivo result of Achilles tendon repair in a rabbit model shows that the microfibers were highly infiltrated by tendon tissue as early as in 1 month, besides, the repaired tendon have a well-aligned tissue structure under the guidance of aligned microfibers. However whether these three dimensionally aligned microfibers can induce three dimensionally aligned cells remains inconclusive.