Material Characterization of PCL:PLLA Electrospun Fibers Following Six Months Degradation In Vitro

Alyah H Shamsah, Sarah H Cartmell, Stephen M Richardson, Lucy A Bosworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The annulus fibrosus-one of the two tissues comprising the intervertebral disc-is susceptible to injury and disease, leading to chronic pain and rupture. A synthetic, biodegradable material could provide a suitable scaffold that alleviates this pain and supports repair through tissue regeneration. The transfer of properties, particularly biomechanical, from scaffold to new tissue is essential and should occur at the same rate to prevent graft failure post-implantation. This study outlines the effect of hydrolytic degradation on the material properties of a novel blend of polycaprolactone and poly(lactic acid) electrospun nanofibers (50:50) over a six-month period following storage in phosphate buffered saline solution at 37 °C. As expected, the molecular weight distribution for this blend decreased over the 180-day period. This was in line with significant changes to fiber morphology, which appeared swollen and merged following observation using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Similarly, hydrolysis resulted in considerable remodeling of the scaffolds' polymer chains as demonstrated by sharp increases in percentage crystallinity and tensile properties becoming stiffer, stronger and more brittle over time. These mechanical data remained within the range reported for human annulus fibrosus tissue and their long-term efficacy further supports this novel blend as a potential scaffold to support tissue regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2020


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