08 June 2015
Electrospun fibrous substrates mimicking extracellular matrices can be prepared by electrospinning, yielding aligned fibrous matrices as internal fillers to manufacture artificial nerves. Gelatin aligned nano-fibers were prepared by electrospinning after tuning the collector rotation speed. The effect of alignment on cell adhesion and proliferation was tested in vitro using primary cultures, the Schwann cell line, RT4-D6P2T, and the sensory neuron-like cell line, 50B11. Cell adhesion and proliferation were assessed by quantifying at several time-points. Aligned nano-fibers reduced adhesion and proliferation rate compared with random fibers. Schwann cell morphology and organization were investigated by immunostaining of the cytoskeleton. Cells were elongated with their longitudinal body parallel to the aligned fibers. B5011 neuron-like cells were aligned and had parallel axon growth when cultured on the aligned gelatin fibers. The data show that the alignment of electrospun gelatin fibers can modulate Schwann cells and axon organization in vitro, suggesting that this substrate shows promise as an internal filler for the design of artificial nerves for peripheral nerve reconstruction.