Enhanced neuronal differentiation of neural stem cells with mechanically enhanced touch-spun nanofibrous scaffolds.
We studied NE-4C neural cells differentiation on 2D polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibrous scaffolds with systematically varied mechanical characteristics of nanofibers while retaining an unchanged fiber alignment, diameter, and chemical composition. Our experiments demonstrated that the nanofibers with enhanced mechanical properties are beneficial for the preferential development of neuronal cells vs. glial cells. Electrospun (ES) and touch-spun (TS) nanofibers were fabricated with Young's modulus in the range of 10 MPa to 230 MPa and a fraction of crystallinity from 30% to 80%. The TS fibers undergo a greater drawing ratio and thus approach a greater polymer chain stretching and alignment that resulted in an increased crystallinity. The TS scaffolds demonstrated improved stability in the aqueous cell culture environment, resisting misalignment and entanglement after a period of 2 weeks of swelling followed by 14 days of neural differentiation. The results confirmed that the neurites on the TS fibers have a preferred orientation even after swelling.
Asheghali, D; Lee, S-J; Furchner, A; Gruzd, A; Larson, S; Tokarev, A; Stake, S; Zhou, X; Hinrichs, K; Zhang, LG; Minko, S
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