Implementing patterned fibrous matrices can offer a highly valuable platform for spatially orchestrating hierarchical cellular constructs, specifically for neural engineering approaches, in which striated alignment or directional growth of axons are key elements for the functional recovery of damaged nervous systems. Thus, understanding the structural parameters of patterned fibrous matrices that can effectively promote neural growth can provide crucial clues for designing state-of-the-art tissue engineering scaffolds. To this end, salt-induced electrospun patterned fiber bundles (SiEP bundles) comprising longitudinally stacked multiple fibers were fabricated, and their capabilities of spatially stimulating the responses of neural cells, including PC12 cells, human neural stem cells (hNSCs), and dorsal root ganglia (DRG), were assessed by comparing them to conventional fibrous matrices having either randomly oriented fibers or individually aligned fibers. The SiEP bundles possessed remarkably distinctive morphological and topographical characteristics: multicomplexed infrastructures with nano- and microscale fibers, rough surfaces, and soft mechanical properties. Importantly, the SiEP bundles resulted in spatial cellular elongations corresponding to the fiber directions and induced highly robust neurite extensions along the patterned fibers. Furthermore, the residence of hNSCs on the topographically rough grooves of the SiEP bundles boosted neuronal differentiation. These findings can provide crucial insights for designing fibrous platforms that can spatially regulate cellular responses and potentially offer powerful strategies for a neural growth system in which directional cellular responses are critical for the functional recovery of damaged neural tissues.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)