Poly-ε-Caprolactone/Fibrin-Alginate Scaffold: A New Pro-Angiogenic Composite Biomaterial for the Treatment of Bone Defects
We hypothesized that a composite of 3D porous melt-electrowritten poly-ɛ-caprolactone (PCL) coated throughout with a porous and slowly biodegradable fibrin/alginate (FA) matrix would accelerate bone repair due to its angiogenic potential. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the open pore structure of the FA matrix was maintained in the PCL/FA composites. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry showed complete coverage of the PCL fibres by FA, and the PCL/FA crystallinity was decreased compared with PCL. In vitro cell work with osteoprogenitor cells showed that they preferentially bound to the FA component and proliferated on all scaffolds over 28 days. A chorioallantoic membrane assay showed more blood vessel infiltration into FA and PCL/FA compared with PCL, and a significantly higher number of bifurcation points for PCL/FA compared with both FA and PCL. Implantation into a rat cranial defect model followed by microcomputed tomography, histology, and immunohistochemistry after 4- and 12-weeks post operation showed fast early bone formation at week 4, with significantly higher bone formation for FA and PCL/FA compared with PCL. However, this phenomenon was not extrapolated to week 12. Therefore, for long-term bone regeneration, tuning of FA degradation to ensure syncing with new bone formation is likely necessary.