Gravity spinning of polycaprolactone fibres for applications in tissue engineering

Matthew R. Williamson, Allan G.A. Coombes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibres have been produced by wet spinning from solutions in acetone under low shear (gravity flow) conditions. The tensile strength and stiffness of as-spun fibres were highly dependent on the concentration of the spinning solution. Use of a 6% w/v solution resulted in fibres having strength and stiffness of 1.8MPa and 0.01GPa, respectively, whereas these values increased to 9.9MPa and 0.1GPa when fibres were produced from 20%w/v solutions. Cold drawing to an extension of 500% resulted in further increases in fibre strength (up to 50MPa) and stiffness (0.3GPa). The surface morphology of as-spun fibres was modified, to yield a directional grooved pattern by drying in contact with a mandrel having a machined topography characterised by a peak-peak separation of 91μm and a peak height of 30μm. Limited in vitro studies of cell behaviour in contact with the fibres were performed using cell culture. The number of attached fibroblasts and myoblasts on as-spun PCL fibres after 5 days in cell culture was lower than on tissue culture plastic by a factor 2 and 1.5, respectively, but higher than on Dacron monofilament by a factor of 4 and 11, respectively. The high fibre compliance and the potential for controlling the fibre surface architecture to promote contact guidance effects together with the maintained proliferation of fibroblasts and myoblasts on as-spun PCL fibres in vitro recommends their use for 3-D scaffold production in soft tissue engineering. 

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)459-465
    Number of pages7
    Issue number3
    Early online date3 Sept 2003
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


    • fibres
    • poly(ε-caprolactone)
    • tissue engineering


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