Fabrication of Nanostructured Poly-ε-caprolactone 3D Scaffolds for 3D Cell Culture Technology

  • Rossana Schipani

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Tissue engineering is receiving tremendous attention due to the necessity to overcome the limitations related to injured or diseased tissues or organs. It is the perfect combination of cells and biomimetic-engineered materials. With the appropriate biochemical factors, it is possible to develop new effective bio-devices that are capable to improve or replace biological functions. Latest developments in microfabrication methods, employing mostly synthetic biomaterials, allow the production of three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds that are able to direct cell-to-cell interactions and specific cellular functions in order to drive tissue regeneration or cell transplantation. The presented work offers a rapid and efficient method of 3D scaffolds fabrication by using optical lithography and micro-molding techniques. Bioresorbable polymer poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) was the material used thanks to its high biocompatibility and ability to naturally degrade in tissues. 3D PCL substrates show a particular combination in the designed length scale: cylindrical shaped pillars with 10μm diameter, 10μm height, arranged in a hexagonal lattice with spacing of 20μm were obtained. The sidewalls of the pillars were nanostructured by attributing a 3D architecture to the scaffold. The suitability of these devices as cell culture technology supports was evaluated by plating NIH/3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblasts and human Neural Stem Cells (hNSC) on them. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis was carried out in order to examine the micro- and nano-patterns on the surface of the supports. In addition, after seeding of cells, SEM and immunofluorescence characterization of the fabricated systems were performed to check adhesion, growth and proliferation. It was observed that cells grow and develop healthy on the bio-polymeric devices by giving rise to well-interconnected networks. 3D PCL nano-patterned pillared scaffold therefore may have considerable potential as effective tool for applications in tissue engineering.
Date of AwardApr 21 2015
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorEnzo Di Fabrizio (Supervisor)


  • Microfabrication
  • 3D Scaffolds
  • Cell Culture
  • Poly-ε-caprolactone
  • Nanostructured
  • Tissue Engineering

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