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Fibrous electrospun polycaprolactone nanomat reinforced with halloysite nanotubes: Preparation and study of its potential application as tissue engineering scaffold

In this work, the biocompatible and biodegradable polycaprolactone (PCL) was synthesized by a ring?opening synthesis mechanism. To improve the mechanical and biological properties of the polymer, electrospun nanocomposite scaffolds were prepared using halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) as the reinforcing agent with the concentrations of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25% (w/w) of PCL. PCL?HNTs composites were prepared as fibrous nanomats by electrospinning method. The morphology and wettability of the electrospun PCL?HNTs nanomats were investigated by scanning electron microscope images and water contact angel measurement and based on the structure of the fibers, fibers diameter and higher wettability, the PCL?HNT composite containing 5% (w/w) of halloysite nanotubes (PCL?+?5%HNTs) was selected as the proper composite and its application as tissue engineering scaffold was studied. The mechanical properties of the PCL?+?5%HNTs composite was 2.6 times higher than that of PCL, as well as, comparatively higher thermal stability. To improve the antibacterial properties, HNTs were loaded with gentamycin sulfate (GM) prior to electrospinning and the PCl?+?5%HNTs+GM composite were prepared and studied. The drug release profile showed that by the incorporation of HNTs into the PCL based composites, slow drug release was continued for 164?h, while neat HNTs were completed the drug release after 8 h. The GM loaded composite scaffold showed a high antibacterial effect for Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli. Adequate cell growth environment was provided by PCL?+?5%HNTs, as indicated by the biocompatibility and protein adsorption test results. The hemolytic assay results showed a higher hemolysis value for the HNTs?containing sample, but still lower than 5%.

Publication date: 03/02/2023

Polymers for Advanced Technologies


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.