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Cellulose-Based Scaffolds: A Comparative Study for Potential Application in Articular Cartilage

Osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent disease worldwide that leads to cartilage loss. Tissue engineering, involving scaffolds, cells, and stimuli, has shown to be a promising strategy for its repair. Thus, this study aims to manufacture and characterise different scaffolds with poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with commercial cellulose (microcrystalline (McC) and methyl cellulose (MC) or cellulose from agro-industrial residues (corncob (CcC)) and at different percentages, 1%, 2%, and 3%. PCL scaffolds were used as a control. Morphologically, the produced scaffolds presented porosities within the desired for cell incorporation (57% to 65%). When submitted to mechanical tests, the incorporation of cellulose affects the compression resistance of the majority of scaffolds. Regarding tensile strength, McC2% showed the highest values. It was proven that all manufactured scaffolds suffered degradation after 7 days of testing because of enzymatic reactions. This degradation may be due to the dissolution of PCL in the organic solvent. Biological tests revealed that PCL, CcC1%, and McC3% are the best materials to combine with human dental pulp stem/stromal cells. Overall, results suggest that cellulose incorporation in PCL scaffolds promotes cellular adhesion/proliferation. Methyl cellulose scaffolds demonstrated some advantageous compressive properties (closer to native cartilaginous tissue) to proceed to further studies for application in cartilage repair.

Publication date: 03/02/2023

Author: Rachel Cordeiro

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym15030781

MDPI (polymers)


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