Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibers produced by wet spinning from solutions in acetone under low-shear (gravity-flow) conditions resulted in fiber strength of 8 MPa and stiffness of 0.08 Gpa. Cold drawing to an extension of 500% resulted in an increase in fiber strength to 43 MPa and stiffness to 0.3 GPa. The growth rate of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) (seeded at a density of 5 × 104 cells/mL) on as-spun fibers was consistently lower than that measured on tissue culture plastic (TCP) beyond day 2. Cell proliferation was similar on gelatin-coated fibers and TCP over 7 days and higher by a factor of 1.9 on 500% cold-drawn PCL fibers relative to TCP up to 4 days. Cell growth on PCL fibers exceeded that on Dacron monofilament by at least a factor of 3.7 at 9 days. Scanning electron microscopy revealed formation of a cell layer on samples of cold-drawn and gelatin-coated fibers after 24 hours in culture. Similar levels of ICAM-1 expression by HUVECs attached to PCL fibers and TCP were measured using RT-PCR and flow cytometry, indicative of low levels of immune activation. Retention of a specific function of HUVECs attached to PCL fibers was demonstrated by measuring their immune response to lipopolysaccharide. Levels of ICAM-1 expression increased by approximately 11% in cells attached to PCL fibers and TCP. The high fiber compliance, favorable endothelial cell proliferation rates, and retention of an important immune response of attached HUVECS support the use of gravity spun PCL fibers for three-dimensional scaffold production in vascular tissue engineering. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
- fiber strength
- fiber compliance
- endothelial cell proliferation rates
- immune response
- gravity spun PCL fibers
- three-dimensional scaffold production
- vascular tissue engineering