Thick soft tissue reconstruction on highly perfusive biodegradable scaffolds

Corrado Mandoli, Barbara Mecheri, Giancarlo Forte, Francesca Pagliari, Stefania Pagliari, Felicia Carotenuto, Roberta Fiaccavento, Antonio Rinaldi, Paolo Di Nardo, Silvia Licoccia, Enrico Traversa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The lack of a vascular network and poor perfusion is what mostly prevents three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds from being used in organ repair when reconstruction of thick tissues is needed. Highly-porous scaffolds made of poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) are prepared by directional thermally induced phase separation (dTIPS) starting from 1,4-dioxane/PLLA solutions. The influence of polymer concentration and temperature gradient, in terms of imposed intensity and direction, on pore size and distribution is studied by comparison with scaffolds prepared by isotropic TIPS. The processing parameters are optimized to achieve an overall porosity for the 3D scaffolds of about 93% with a degree of interconnectivity of 91%. The resulting pore network is characterized by the ordered repetition of closely packed dendrite-like cavities, each one showing stacks of 20 μm large side lamellar branches departing from 70 μm diameter vertical backbones, strongly resembling the vascular patterns. The in vitro biological responses after 1 and 2 weeks are evaluated from mesenchymal (bone marrow stromal) cells (MSC) static culturing. A novel vacuum-based deep-seeding method is set up to improve uniform cell penetration down to scaffold thicknesses of over 1mm. Biological screenings show significant 3D scaffold colonization even after 18 h, while cellular retention is observed up to 14 d in vitro (DIV). Pore architecture-driven cellular growth is accompanied by cell tendency to preserve their multi-potency towards differentiation. Confluent tissues as thick as 1mm were reconstructed taking advantage of the large perfusion enhanced by the highly porous microstructure of the engineered scaffolds, which could successfully serve for applications aimed at vascular nets and angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 11 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D biodegradable scaffolds
  • Biological application of polymers
  • Stem cells
  • Thermally induced phase separation
  • Tissue engineering
  • Vascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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