Fabrication of composite scaffolds is one of the strategies proposed to enhance the functionality of tissue-engineered scaffolds for improved tissue regeneration. By combining multiple elements together, unique biomimetic scaffolds with desirable physical and mechanical properties can be tailored for tissue-specific applications. Despite having a highly porous structure, the utility of electrospun fibers (EF) as scaffold is usually hampered by their insufficient mechanical strength. In this study, we attempted to produce a mechanically competent scaffold with cell-guiding ability by fabricating aligned poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) fibers on decellularized human amniotic membrane (HAM), known to possess favorable tensile and wound healing properties. Decellularization of HAM in 18.75 μg/mL of thermolysin followed by a brief treatment in 0.25 M sodium hydroxide efficiently removed the amniotic epithelium and preserved the ultrastructure of the underlying extracellular matrix. The electrospinning of 20% (w/v) PLGA 50:50 polymer on HAM yielded beadless fibers with straight morphology. Subsequent physical characterization revealed that EF-HAM scaffold with a 3-min fabrication had the most aligned fibers with the lowest fiber diameter in comparison with EF-HAM 5- and 7-min scaffolds. Hydrated EF-HAM scaffolds with 3-min deposition had a greater tensile strength than the other scaffolds despite having thinner fibers. Nevertheless, wet HAM and EF-HAMs regardless of the fiber thicknesses had a significantly lower Young's modulus, and hence, a higher elasticity compared with dry HAM and EF-HAMs. Biocompatibility analysis showed that the viability and migration rate of skeletal muscle cells on EF-HAMs were similar to control and HAM alone. Skeletal muscle cells seeded on HAM were shown to display random orientation, whereas cells on EF-HAM scaffolds were oriented along the alignment of the electrospun PLGA fibers. In summary, besides having good mechanical strength and elasticity, EF-HAM scaffold design decorated with aligned fiber topography holds a promising potential for use in the development of aligned tissue constructs.
Keywords: aligned fiber; biomaterial; electrospinning; human amniotic membrane; skeletal muscle; tissue decellularization.