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B. Kim, C. J. Roberts, D. M. Grzybowski, P. A. Weber, Y. Zhao; Nanoengineered Polymer Scaffold With Controllable Porosity Towards 3D in vitro Trabecular Meshwork Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3239.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate a simple yet effective method for creating nanoporous tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds. The morphological similarity of the 3D scaffold with complex in vivo trabecular meshwork(TM) enables parallel and systematic investigation of hydraulic resistance of outflow facility of aqueous humour. By providing a physiologically and morphologically relevant in vitro TM model, the work is expected to outperform currently employed TM monolayers in revealing the mechanism of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
The TE scaffold is prepared by electrospinning on a micropatterned collector chip. The chip is developed by patterning a layer of conductive microelectrodes on the dielectric substrate. During electrospinning, all conductive regions on the collector chip are connected to ground. Due to the image charges generated at the conductive surface during electrospinning, a spatially non-uniform electric field is formed in the close vicinity of the collecting surface. Such field interacts with the positively charged polymer nanofibers and directs the fibers towards the ground conductive surfaces. In this work, poly(etherurethane)urea (PEUU) is spun due to its excellent biodegradability and mechanical elasticity to mimic the elastin fibers in natural TM tissues.
Patterned (P) and non-patterned (NP) regions exhibit different pore size distributions. The P region possesses a smaller average pore size and has very few large pores. The NP region, on the contrary, possesses a greater number of large pores, which associates with a lower hydraulic resistance. It also shows that the porosity difference between P and NP regions decreases with the spinning time. In addition, a small flow rate can generally render a better porosity contrast. By tuning the flow rate and the spinning time, a polymer substrate with morphology similar to the three areas of natural TM tissue (i.e., uveal area, corneoscleral area and cribriform area) can be obtained.
A 3D polymer scaffold with controllable porosity is developed by electrospinning on a micropatterned collector chip. TM areas with different porosities are mimicked, and a composite nanoengineered tissue incorporating all three TM areas is made. The 3D in vitro TM model provides a useful alternative to the TM monolayer model while presenting greater morphological and physiological similarity with natural TM tissue for the investigation of POAG.
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