Buttafoco, L.; Kolkman, N.G.; Engbers-Buijtenhuijs, P.; Poot, A.A.; Dijkstra, P.J.; Vermes, I.; Feijen, J
Biomaterials; vol. 27, 724-734
Meshes of collagen and/or elastin were successfully prepared by means of electrospinning from aqueous solutions. Flow rate, applied electric field, collecting distance and composition of the starting solutions determined the morphology of the obtained fibres. Addition of PEO (Mw=8×106) and NaCl was always necessary to spin continuous and homogeneous fibres. Spinning a mixture of collagen and elastin resulted in fibres in which the single components could not be distinguished by SEM. Increasing the elastin content determined an increase in fibres diameters from 220 to 600 nm. The voltage necessary for a continuous production of fibres was dependent on the composition of the starting solution, but always between 10 and 25 kV. Under these conditions, non-woven meshes could be formed and a partial orientation of the fibres constituting the mesh was obtained by using a rotating tubular mandrel as collector. Collagen/elastin (1:1) meshes were stabilized by crosslinking with N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N′-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS). This treatment afforded materials with a high thermal stability (Td = 79°C) without altering their original morphology. Upon crosslinking PEO and NaCl were fully leached out. Smooth muscle cells grew as a confluent layer on top of the crosslinked meshes after 14 d of culture.