Optimization of Polyvinyl Alcohol-Based Electrospun Fibers with Bioactive or Electroconductive Phases for Tissue-Engineered Scaffolds
The accurate mimicking of the fibrillary structure of the extracellular matrix represents one of the critical aspects of tissue engineering, playing a significant role in cell behavior and functions during the regenerative process. This work proposed the design of PVA-based multi-component membranes as a valuable and highly versatile strategy to support in vitro regeneration of different tissues. PVA can be successfully processed through electrospinning processes, allowing for the integration of other organic/inorganic materials suitable to confer additive bio-functional properties to the fibers to improve their biological response. It was demonstrated that adding polyethylene oxide (PEO) improves fiber processability; moreover, SEM analyses confirmed that blending PVA with PEO or gelatin enables the reduction of fiber size from 1.527 &plusmn; 0.66 &mu;m to 0.880 &plusmn; 0.30 &mu;m and 0.938 &plusmn; 0.245 &mu;m, respectively, also minimizing defect formation. Furthermore, in vitro tests confirmed that gelatin integration allows the formation of bioactive nanofibers with improved biological response in terms of L929 adhesion and proliferation. Lastly, the processability of PVA fibers with conductive phases such as polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) or poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) has also been verified. From this perspective, they could be promisingly used to design electroactive composite fibers able to support the regeneration process of electrically stimulated tissues such as nerves or muscles.