Bone tissue engineering is a rapidly developing, minimally invasive technique for regenerating lost bone with the aid of biomaterial scaffolds that mimic the structure and function of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Recently, scaffolds made of electrospun fibers have aroused interest due to their similarity to the ECM, and high porosity. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an abundant component of the ECM and an attractive material for use in regenerative medicine; however, its processability by electrospinning is poor, and it must be used in combination with another polymer. Here, we used electrospinning to fabricate a composite scaffold with a core/shell morphology composed of polycaprolactone (PCL) polymer and HA and incorporating a short self-assembling peptide. The peptide includes the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motif and supports cellular attachment based on molecular recognition. Electron microscopy imaging demonstrated that the fibrous network of the scaffold resembles the ECM structure. In vitro biocompatibility assays revealed that MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts adhered well to the scaffold and proliferated, with significant osteogenic differentiation and calcium mineralization. Our work emphasizes the potential of this multi-component approach by which electrospinning, molecular self-assembly, and molecular recognition motifs are combined, to generate a leading candidate to serve as a scaffold for bone tissue engineering.
Keywords: bone tissue engineering; electrospinning; hyaluronic acid; scaffolds; self-assembly; short peptide.