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Keywords:

  • Collagen;
  • Mesenchymal stem cell;
  • Plastic compression;
  • Silk fibroin;
  • Toughness

Abstract

Tissue engineering of multilayered constructs that model complex tissues poses a significant challenge for regenerative medicine. In this study, a three-layered scaffold consisting of an electrospun silk fibroin (SF) mat sandwiched between two dense collagen (DC) layers was designed and characterized. It was hypothesized that the SF layer would endow the DC-SF-DC construct with enhanced mechanical properties (e.g., apparent modulus, tensile strength, and toughness), while the surrounding DC layers provide an extracellular matrix-like environment for mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) growth. MSC-seeded DC-SF-DC hybrids were produced using the plastic compression technique and characterized morphologically, chemically, and mechanically. Moreover, MSC viability was assessed for up to 1 wk in culture. Scaffold analyses confirmed compaction and integration of the meso-scaled multilayered DC-SF-DC hybrid, which was reflected in a significantly higher toughness value when compared to DC and SF alone. MSCs directly incorporated into the DC layers remained viable for up to day 7. The ease of multilayered construct fabrication, enhanced biomechanical properties, along with uniformity of cell distribution confirmed the possibility for the incorporation and segregation of different cell types within distinct layers for the regeneration of complex tissues, such as skin, or central nervous system dura mater.