In this study, we investigated the effect of fiber and pore size of an electrospun scaffold on the polarization of mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMΦs) towards regenerative (M2) or inflammatory (M1) phenotypes. BMMΦs were seeded on Polydioxanone (PDO) scaffolds electrospun from varying polymer concentrations (60, 100, and 140 mg/ml). Higher polymer concentrations yielded larger diameter fibers with larger pore sizes and porosity. BMMΦ cultured on these scaffolds showed a correlation between increasing fiber/pore size and increased expression of the M2 marker Arginase 1 (Arg1), along with decreased expression of the M1 marker inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Secretion of the angiogenic cytokines VEGF, TGF-β1 and bFGF was higher among cultures employing larger fiber/pore size scaffolds (140 mg/ml). Using a 3D in vitro angiogenesis bead assay, we have demonstrated that the M2-like profile of BMMΦ induced by the 140 mg/ml is functional. Furthermore, our results show that the pore size of a scaffold is a more critical regulator of the BMMΦ polarization compared to the fiber diameter. The study also shows a potential role for MyD88 in regulating M1 BMMΦ signaling on the large vs. small fiber/pore size PDO scaffold. These data are instructive for the rationale design of implantable prosthetics designed to promote in situ regeneration.
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