Tissue engineering of various musculoskeletal or cardiovascular tissues requires scaffolds with controllable mechanical anisotropy. However, native tissues also exhibit significant inhomogeneity in their mechanical properties, and the principal axes of anisotropy may vary with site or depth from the tissue surface. Thus, techniques to produce multilayered biomaterial scaffolds with controllable anisotropy may provide improved biomimetic properties for functional tissue replacements. In this study, poly(ε-caprolactone) scaffolds were electrospun onto a collecting electrode that was partially covered by rectangular or square shaped insulating masks. The use of a rectangular mask resulted in aligned scaffolds that were significantly stiffer in tension in the axial direction than the transverse direction at 0 strain (22.9 ± 1.3 MPa axial, 16.1 ± 0.9 MPa transverse), and at 0.1 strain (4.8 ± 0.3 MPa axial, 3.5 ± 0.2 MPa transverse). The unaligned scaffolds, produced using a square mask, did not show this anisotropy, with similar stiffness in the axial and transverse directions at 0 strain (19.7 ± 1.4 MPa axial, 20.8 ± 1.3 MPa transverse) and 0.1 strain (4.4 ± 0.2 MPa axial, 4.6 ± 0.3 MPa, transverse). Aligned scaffolds also induced alignment of adipose stem cells near the expected axis on aligned scaffolds (0.015 ± 0.056 rad), while on the unaligned scaffolds, their orientation showed more variation and was not along the expected axis (1.005 ± 0.225 rad). This method provides a novel means of creating multilayered electrospun scaffolds with controlled anisotropy for each layer, potentially providing a means to mimic the complex mechanical properties of various native tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8962-8968
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 28 2010


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