The interactions of astrocytes and fibroblasts with defined pore structures in static and perfusion cultures

Open pores to maintain nutrient diffusion and waste removal after cell colonization are crucial for the successful application of constructs based on assembled membranes, in our case tubular scaffolds made of 3-polycaprolactone (PCL), for use in tissue engineering. Due to the complex three-dimensional structure and large size of such scaffolds needed for transplantable tissues, it is difficult to investigate the cellepore interactions in situ. Therefore miniaturized bioreactors inside Petri dishes (30mmin diameter), containing porous PCL or poly-dimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membranes, were developed to allow the interactions of different cells with defined pores to be investigated in situ during both static and perfusion cultures. Investigation of two different cell types (fibroblasts and cortical astrocytes) and how they interact with a range of pores (100e350 mm in diameter) for up to 50 days indicated that the cells either ‘covered’ or ‘bridged’ the pores. Three distinct behaviors were observed in the way cortical astrocytes interacted with pores,while fibroblasts were able to quickly bridge the pores based on consistent “joint efforts”. Our studies demonstrate that the distinct pore sealing behaviors of both cell types were influenced by pore size, initial cell density and culture period, but not by medium perfusion within the range of shear forces investigated. These findings formimportant basic data about the usability of pores within scaffolds that could inform the design and fabrication of suitable scaffolds for various applications in tissue engineering.

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0