Biomaterials based on crosslinked sponges of biopolymers have been extensively used as scaffolds to culture mammal cells. It is well known that single biopolymers show significant change over time due to a phenomenon called physical ageing. In this research, it was verified that scaffolds used for skin tissue engineering (based on gelatin, chitosan and hyaluronic acid) express an ageing-like phenomenon. Treatments based on ageing of scaffolds improve the behavior of skin-cells for tissue engineering purposes. Physical ageing of dry scaffolds was studied by differential scanning calorimetry and was modeled with ageing kinetic equations. In addition, the physical properties of wet scaffolds also changed with the ageing treatments. Scaffolds were aged up to 3 weeks, and then skin-cells (fibroblasts) were seeded on them. Results indicated that adhesion, migration, viability, proliferation and spreading of the skin-cells were affected by the scaffold ageing. The best performance was obtained with a 2-week aged scaffold (under cell culture conditions). The cell viability inside the scaffold was increased from 60 % (scaffold without ageing treatment) to 80 %. It is concluded that biopolymeric scaffolds can be modified by means of an ageing treatment, which changes the behavior of the cells seeded on them. The ageing treatment under cell culture conditions might become a bioprocess to improve the scaffolds used for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
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