Electrospun PCL/PGS Composite Fibers Incorporating Bioactive Glass Particles for Soft Tissue Engineering Applications
Poly(glycerol-sebacate) (PGS) and poly(epsilon caprolactone) (PCL) have been widely investigated for biomedical applications in combination with the electrospinning process. Among others, one advantage of this blend is its suitability to be processed with benign solvents for electrospinning. In this work, the suitability of PGS/PCL polymers for the fabrication of composite fibers incorporating bioactive glass (BG) particles was investigated. Composite electrospun fibers containing silicate or borosilicate glass particles (13-93 and 13-93BS, respectively) were obtained and characterized. Neat PCL and PCL composite electrospun fibers were used as control to investigate the possible effect of the presence of PGS and the influence of the bioactive glass particles. In fact, with the addition of PGS an increase in the average fiber diameter was observed, while in all the composite fibers, the presence of BG particles induced an increase in the fiber diameter distribution, without changing significantly the average fiber diameter. Results confirmed that the blended fibers are hydrophilic, while the addition of BG particles does not affect fiber wettability. Degradation test and acellular bioactivity test highlight the release of the BG particles from all composite fibers, relevant for all applications related to therapeutic ion release, i.e., wound healing. Because of weak interface between the incorporated BG particles and the polymeric fibers, mechanical properties were not improved in the composite fibers. Promising results were obtained from preliminary biological tests for potential use of the developed mats for soft tissue engineering applications.