Development of an ECM-mimetic, electrospun hydrogel scaffold for soft tissue repair application

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The objective of this research is to develop a biocompatible scaffold based on dextran and poly acrylic acid (PAA) with the potential to be used for soft tissue repair. In

The objective of this research is to develop a biocompatible scaffold based on dextran and poly acrylic acid (PAA) with the potential to be used for soft tissue repair. In this thesis, physical and chemical properties of the scaffold were investigated. The scaffolds were made using electrospinning and cross-linked under high temperature. After heat treatment, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) was used to observe the structures of these scaffolds. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to measure the cross-linking level of scaffold samples given different times of heat treatment by detecting and comparing the newly formed ester bonds. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) were added to enhance the mechanical properties of dextran-PAA scaffolds. Attachment of NIH-3T3 fibroblast cells to the scaffold and the response upon implantation into rabbit vaginal tissue were also evaluated to investigate the performance of SWCNT dextran-PAA scaffold. SEM was then used to characterize morphology of fibroblast cells and rabbit tissues. The results suggest that SWCNT could enhance cell attachment, distribution and spreading performance of dextran-PAA scaffold.