Fabrication of Fibrin/Polyvinyl Alcohol Scaffolds for Skin Tissue Engineering via Emulsion Templating
Zhou G., Zhu J., Inverarity C., Fang Y., Zhang Z., Ye H., Cui Z., Nguyen L., Wan H., Dye JF.
In the search for a novel and scalable skin scaffold for wound healing and tissue regeneration, we fabricated a class of fibrin/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) scaffolds using an emulsion templating method. The fibrin/PVA scaffolds were formed by enzymatic coagulation of fibrinogen with thrombin in the presence of PVA as a bulking agent and an emulsion phase as the porogen, with glutaraldehyde as the cross-linking agent. After freeze drying, the scaffolds were characterized and evaluated for biocompatibility and efficacy of dermal reconstruction. SEM analysis showed that the formed scaffolds had interconnected porous structures (average pore size e was around 330 µm) and preserved the nano-scale fibrous architecture of the fibrin. Mechanical testing showed that the scaffolds’ ultimate tensile strength was around 0.12 MPa with an elongation of around 50%. The proteolytic degradation of scaffolds could be controlled over a wide range by varying the type or degree of cross-linking and by fibrin/PVA composition. Assessment of cytocompatibility by human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) proliferation assays shows that MSC can attach, penetrate, and proliferate into the fibrin/PVA scaffolds with an elongated and stretched morphology. The efficacy of scaffolds for tissue reconstruction was evaluated in a murine full-thickness skin excision defect model. The scaffolds were integrated and resorbed without inflammatory infiltration and, compared to control wounds, promoted deeper neodermal formation, greater collagen fiber deposition, facilitated angiogenesis, and significantly accelerated wound healing and epithelial closure. The experimental data showed that the fabricated fibrin/PVA scaffolds are promising for skin repair and skin tissue engineering.