Hemocompatible surface of electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds by ATRP modification


The electrospun scaffolds are potential application in vascular tissue engineering since they can mimic the nano-sized dimension of natural extracellular matrix (ECM). We prepared a fibrous scaffold from polycarbonateurethane (PCU) by electrospinning technology. In order to improve the hydrophilicity and hemocompatibility of the fibrous scaffold, poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) was grafted onto the fiber surface by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) method. Although SI-ATRP has been developed and used for surface modification for many years, there are only few studies about the modification of electrospun fiber by this method. The modified fibrous scaffolds were characterized by SEM, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The scaffold morphology showed no significant difference when PEGMA was grafted onto the scaffold surface. Based on the water contact angle measurement, the surface hydrophilicity of the scaffold surface was improved significantly after grafting hydrophilic PEGMA (P = 0.0012). The modified surface showed effective resistance for platelet adhesion compared with the unmodified surface. Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) of the PCU-g-PEGMA scaffold was much longer than that of the unmodified PCU scaffold. The cyto-compatibility of electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds was tested by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). The images of 7-day cultured cells on the scaffold surface were observed by SEM. The modified scaffolds showed high tendency to induce cell adhesion. Moreover, the cells reached out pseudopodia along the fibrous direction and formed a continuous monolayer. Hemolysis test showed that the grafted chains of PEGMA reduced blood coagulation. These results indicated that the modified electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds were potential application as artificial blood vessels.
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