Development of volume-stable adipose tissue constructs using polycaprolactone-based polyurethane scaffolds and fibrin hydrogels



Adipose tissue engineering aims at the restoration of soft tissue defects and the correction of contour deformities. It is therefore crucial to provide functional adipose tissue implants with appropriate volume stability. Here, we investigate two different fibrin formulations, alone or in combination with biodegradable polyurethane (PU) scaffolds as additional support structures, with regard to their suitability to generate volume-stable adipose tissue constructs. Human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) were incorporated in a commercially available fibrin sealant as well as a stable fibrin hydrogel previously developed by our group. The composite constructs made from the commercially available fibrin and porous poly(ε-caprolactone)-based polyurethane scaffolds exhibited increased volume stability as compared to fibrin gels alone; however, only constructs using the stable fibrin gels completely maintained their size and weight for 21 days. Adipogenesis of ASCs was not impaired by the additional PU scaffold. After induction with a common hormonal cocktail, for constructs with either fibrin formulation, strong adipogenic differentiation of ASCs was observed after 21 days in vitro. Furthermore, upregulation of adipogenic marker genes was demonstrated at mRNA (PPARγ, C/EBPα, GLUT4 and aP2; qRT–PCR) and protein (leptin; ELISA) levels. Stable fibrin/PU constructs were further evaluated in a pilot in vivo study, resulting in areas of well-vascularized adipose tissue within the implants after only 5 weeks. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.