Polystyrene-based polyHIPE (polymerized high internal phase emulsion) materials were prepared by the copolymerization of styrene and divinylbenzene in the continuous phase of a HIPE. The resultant polyHIPE materials were found to have an open-cellular morphology and high porosity, and the polyHIPE structure could be well adjusted by varying the water/oil (W/O) ratio and the amount of emulsifier in the HIPE. Cell culture results showed that the resultant polyHIPE materials, which exhibited larger voids and connected windows as well as high porosity, could promote cell proliferation on the 3D scaffold. A 3D cell cytotoxicity evaluation system was constructed with the polystyrene-based polyHIPE materials as scaffolds and the cigarette smoke cytotoxicity was evaluated. Results showed that the smoke cytotoxicity against A549 cells is much lower in the 3D cell platform compared to the traditional 2D system, showing the great potential of the polyHIPE scaffolds for 3D cell culture and the cytotoxic evaluation of cigarette smoke.
Keywords: 3D cell culture; cigarette smoke; cytotoxicity evaluation; polyHIPE; polystyrene.