Single-step, acid-based fabrication of homogeneous gelatin-polycaprolactone fibrillar scaffolds intended for skin tissue engineering

Gina Prado-Prone, Masoomeh Bazzar, Maria Letizia Focarete, Jorge Garcia-Macedo, Javier Perez-Orive, Clemente Ibarra, Cristina Velasquillo, Phaedra Silva-Bermudez

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Blends of natural and synthetic polymers have recently attracted great attention as scaffolds for tissue engineering applications due to their favorable biological and mechanical properties. Nevertheless, phase-separation of blend components is an important challenge facing the development of electrospun homogeneous fibrillar natural-synthetic polymers scaffolds; phase-separation can produce significant detrimental effects for scaffolds fabricated by electrospinning. In the present study, blends of gelatin (Gel; natural polymer) and polycaprolactone (PCL; synthetic polymer), containing 30 and 45 wt.% Gel, were prepared using acetic acid as a "green" sole solvent to straightforwardly produce appropriate single-step Gel-PCL solutions for electrospinning. Miscibility of Gel and PCL in the scaffolds was assessed and the morphology, chemical composition and structural and solid-state properties of the scaffolds were thoroughly investigated. Results showed that the two polymers proved miscible under the single-step solution process used and that the electrospun scaffolds presented suitable properties for potential skin tissue engineering applications. Viability, metabolic activity and protein expression of human fibroblasts cultured on the Gel-PCL scaffolds were evaluated using LIVE/DEAD (calcein/ethidium homodimer), MTT-Formazan and immunocytochemistry assays, respectively. In vitro results showed that the electrospun Gel-PCL scaffolds enhanced cell viability and proliferation in comparison to PCL scaffolds. Furthermore, scaffolds allowed fibroblasts expression of extracellular matrix proteins, tropoelastin and collagen Type I, in a similar way to positive controls. Results indicated the feasibility of the single-step solution process used herein to obtain homogeneous electrospun Gel-PCL scaffolds with Gel content ≥ 30 wt.% and potential properties to be used as scaffolds for skin tissue engineering applications for wound healing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number035001
JournalBiomedical Materials
Issue number3
Early online date3 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020


  • acetic acid
  • electrospinning
  • fibroblasts
  • polymer-blend
  • tissue engineering
  • wound healing

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