The advance of rapid prototyping techniques has significantly improved control over the pore network architecture of tissue engineering scaffolds. In this work, we have assessed the influence of scaffold pore architecture on cell seeding and static culturing, by comparing a computer designed gyroid architecture fabricated by stereolithography with a random pore architecture resulting from salt leaching. The scaffold types showed comparable porosity and pore size values, but the gyroid type showed a more than 10-fold higher permeability due to the absence of size-limiting pore interconnections. The higher permeability significantly improved the wetting properties of the hydrophobic scaffolds and increased the settling speed of cells upon static seeding of immortalised mesenchymal stem cells. After dynamic seeding followed by 5 days of static culture gyroid scaffolds showed large cell populations in the centre of the scaffold, while salt-leached scaffolds were covered with a cell sheet on the outside and no cells were found in the scaffold centre. It was shown that interconnectivity of the pores and permeability of the scaffold prolonged the time of static culture before overgrowth of cells at the scaffold periphery occurred. Furthermore, novel scaffold designs are proposed to further improve the transport of oxygen and nutrients throughout the scaffolds and to create tissue engineering grafts with a designed, pre-fabricated vasculature.
- Computer Aided Design
- Scaffold architecture
- Nutrient transport
- EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP6/500465
- Cell seeding