Hierarchically Structured Electrospun Scaffolds with Chemically Conjugated Growth Factor for Ligament Tissue Engineering.

Hannah M Pauly, Binnulal Sathy, D. Olvera, Helen McCarthy, Daniel J Kelly, Ketul C Popat, N.J. Dunne, Tammy L Haut Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee is vital for proper joint function and is commonly ruptured during sports injuries or car accidents. Due to a lack of intrinsic healing capacity and drawbacks with allografts and autografts, there is a need for a tissue-engineered ACL replacement. Our group has previously used aligned sheets of electrospun polycaprolactone nanofibers to develop solid cylindrical bundles of longitudinally aligned nanofibers. We have shown that these nanofiber bundles support cell proliferation and elongation and the hierarchical structure and material properties are similar to the native human ACL. It is possible to combine multiple nanofiber bundles to create a scaffold that attempts to mimic the macroscale structure of the ACL. The goal of this work was to develop a hierarchical bioactive scaffold for ligament tissue engineering using connective tissue growth factor (CTGF)-conjugated nanofiber bundles and evaluate the behavior of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on these scaffolds in vitro and in vivo. CTGF was immobilized onto the surface of individual nanofiber bundles or scaffolds consisting of multiple nanofiber bundles. The conjugation efficiency and the release of conjugated CTGF were assessed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, assays, and immunofluorescence staining. Scaffolds were seeded with MSCs and maintained in vitro for 7 days (individual nanofiber bundles), in vitro for 21 days (scaled-up scaffolds of 20 nanofiber bundles), or in vivo for 6 weeks (small scaffolds of 4 nanofiber bundles), and ligament-specific tissue formation was assessed in comparison to non-CTGF-conjugated control scaffolds. Results showed that CTGF conjugation encouraged cell proliferation and ligament-specific tissue formation in vitro and in vivo. The results suggest that hierarchical electrospun nanofiber bundles conjugated with CTGF are a scalable and bioactive scaffold for ACL tissue engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-836
Issue number15-16
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2017


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