Seeding of artificial nerve grafts with Schwann cells is a promising strategy for bridging large nerve defects. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the adhesion and growth of human Schwann cells (HSCs) on 1,3-trimethylene carbonate (TMC) and -caprolactone copolymers, with the final goal of using these materials in the development of an artificial nerve graft. The adhesion, proliferation, and morphology of HSCs on copolymers containing 10 and 82 mol % of TMC and on the parent homopolymers were investigated. HSCs adhered faster and in greater numbers on the copolymer with 82 mol % of TMC and on the TMC homopolymer compared with the other (co)polymers. On all polymer films, cell adhesion was lower than on gelatin (positive control). Despite differences in cell adhesion, cells displayed exponential growth on all tested surfaces, with similar growth rates. Cell numbers doubled approximately every 3 days on all substrates. When the polymer films were coated with fibronectin, no significant differences in cell adhesion and proliferation were observed between coated polymer surfaces and gelatin. The results indicate that all tested materials support the adhesion and proliferation of HSCs and can in principle be used for the preparation of flexible and slowly degrading nerve guides.
- cell adhesion and proliferation
- human Schwann cells
- Poly(ester carbonate)s based on trimethylene carbonate and -caprolactone
- degradable nerve guides