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Development of nanofiber-reinforced hydrogel scaffolds for nucleus pulposus regeneration by a combination of electrospinning and spraying technique

Authors

  • Anna Thorvaldsson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Swerea IVF, Argongatan 30, 431 53, Mölndal, Sweden
    2. Biopolymer Technology, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96, Göteborg, Sweden
    • Swerea IVF, Argongatan 30, 431 53, Mölndal, Sweden
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  • Joana Silva-Correia,

    1. 3B's Research Group—Biomaterials, Biodegradables, and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, S. Cláudio de Barco, 4806-909 Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal
    2. ICVS/3B's PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
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  • Joaquim M. Oliveira,

    1. 3B's Research Group—Biomaterials, Biodegradables, and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, S. Cláudio de Barco, 4806-909 Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal
    2. ICVS/3B's PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
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  • Rui L. Reis,

    1. 3B's Research Group—Biomaterials, Biodegradables, and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, S. Cláudio de Barco, 4806-909 Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal
    2. ICVS/3B's PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
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  • Paul Gatenholm,

    1. Biopolymer Technology, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96, Göteborg, Sweden
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  • Pernilla Walkenström

    1. Swerea IVF, Argongatan 30, 431 53, Mölndal, Sweden
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Abstract

In this work a new method is presented to efficiently produce hydrogel scaffolds reinforced with nanofibers to show enhanced mechanical properties and improved structural integrity. The method is based on a combination of air brush spraying of a hydrogel and electrospinning of nanofibers. With air brush spraying the controllability is enhanced and the potential for scale-up increased. The developed method was used to successfully reinforce gellan gum hydrogels with electrospun polycaprolactone nanofibers. Optical and rheological evaluations were performed and showed that parameters such as the amount of incorporated nanofibers, gellan gum concentration and calcium chloride (crosslinker) concentrations could be used to modulate material properties. Incorporation of a small amount of nanofibers had a reinforcing effect and resulted in a hydrogel with rheological properties similar to the human nucleus pulposus (NP). The method is flexible and carries potential for designing scaffolds for e.g. NP tissue regeneration. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

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