Tissue engineering scaffolds are often designed without appropriate consideration for the translational potential of the material. Solid scaffolds implanted into central nervous system (CNS) tissue to promote regeneration may require tissue resection to accommodate implantation. Or alternatively, the solid scaffold may be cut or shaped to better fit an irregular injury geometry, but some features of the augmented scaffold may fail to integreate with surrounding tissue reducing regeneration potential. To create a biomaterial able to completely fill the irregular geometry of CNS injury and yet still provide sufficient cell migratory cues, an injectable, hybrid scaffold was created to present the physical architecture of electrospun fibers in an agarose/methylcellulose hydrogel. When injected into the rat striatum, infiltrating macrophages/microglia and resident astrocytes are able to locate the fibers and utilize their cues for migration into the hybrid matrix. Thus, hydrogels containing electrospun fibers may be an appropriate platform to encourage regeneration of the injured brain.
Keywords: brain; electrospun fibers; hydrogel; neuroengineering.