Mismatch in mechanical properties between synthetic vascular graft and arteries contribute to graft failure. The viscoelastic properties of arteries are conferred by elastin and collagen. In this study, the mechanical properties and cellular interactions of aligned nanofibrous polyurethane (PU) scaffolds blended with elastin, collagen or a mixture of both proteins were examined. Elastin softened PU to a peak stress and strain of 7.86 MPa and 112.28 % respectively, which are similar to those observed in blood vessels. Collagen-blended PU increased in peak stress to 28.14 MPa. The growth of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) on both collagen-blended and elastin/collagen-blended scaffold increased by 283 and 224 % respectively when compared to PU. Smooth muscle myosin staining indicated that the cells are contractile SMCs which are favored in vascular tissue engineering. Elastin and collagen are beneficial for creating compliant synthetic vascular grafts as elastin provided the necessary viscoelastic properties while collagen enhanced the cellular interactions.
Field of Research
091205 Functional Materials 091209 Polymers and Plastics 090301 Biomaterials