Palm readings: Manicaria saccifera palm fibers are biocompatible textiles with low immunogenicity

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2020 Mar;108:110484. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2019.110484. Epub 2019 Nov 27.


Plant-based fibers are a potential alternative to synthetic polymer fibers that can yield enhanced biocompatibility and mechanical properties matching those properties of tissue. Given the unique morphology of the bract of the Manicaria saccifera palm, being an interwoven meshwork of fibers, we believe that these fibers with this built-in structure could prove useful as a tissue engineering scaffold material. Thus, we first investigated the fiber's in vitro biocompatibility and immunogenicity. We cultured NIH/3T3 mouse fibroblasts, human aortic smooth muscle cells, and human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells on the fiber mats, which all readily attached and over 21 days grew to engulf the fibers. Importantly, this was achieved without treating the plant tissue with extracellular matrix proteins or any adhesion ligands. In addition, we measured the gene expression and protein secretion of three target inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8, and TNFα) from THP-1 human leukemia monocytes cultured in the presence of the biotextile as an in vitro immunological model. After 24 h of culture, gene expression and protein secretion were largely the same as the control, demonstrating the low immunogenicity of Manicaria saccifera fibers. We also measured the tensile mechanical properties of the fibers. Individual fibers after processing had a Young's modulus of 9.51 ± 4.38 GPa and a tensile strength of 68.62 ± 27.93 MPa. We investigated the tensile mechanical properties of the fiber mats perpendicular to the fiber axis (transverse loading), which displayed upwards of 100% strain, but with a concession in strength compared to longitudinal loading. Collectively, our in vitro assessments point toward Manicaria saccifera as a highly biocompatible biotextile, with a range of potential clinical and engineering applications.

Keywords: Biocompatible; Biomaterial; Biotextile; Manicaria saccifera; Natural fiber; Plant-based; Tissue engineering.