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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front Chem Sci Eng    2011, Vol. 5 Issue (3) : 392-400     DOI: 10.1007/s11705-011-1202-0
Hemocompatible polyurethane/gelatin-heparin nanofibrous scaffolds formed by a bi-layer electrospinning technique as potential artificial blood vessels
Heyun WANG1, Yakai FENG1,2, Marc BEHL2,3, Andreas LENDLEIN2,3, Haiyang ZHAO1, Ruofang XIAO1, Jian LU1, Li ZHANG1, Jintang GUO1,2()
1. School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China; 2. Tianjin University-Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Joint Laboratory for Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Tianjin 300072, China; Kantstr. 55, 14513 Teltow, Germany; 3. Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Center for Biomaterial Development and Berlin Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), Institute of Polymer Research, Kantstr. 55, 14513 Teltow, Germany
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In this paper, a scaffold, which mimics the morphology and mechanical properties of a native blood vessel is reported. The scaffold was prepared by sequential bi-layer electrospinning on a rotating mandrel-type collector. The tubular scaffolds (inner diameter 4 mm, length 3 cm) are composed of a polyurethane (PU) fibrous outer-layer and a gelatin-heparin fibrous inner-layer. They were fabricated by electrospinning technology, which enables control of the composition, structure, and mechanical properties of the scaffolds. The microstructure, fiber morphology and mechanical properties of the scaffolds were examined by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tensile tests. The PU/gelatin-heparin tubular scaffolds have a porous structure. The scaffolds achieved a breaking strength (3.7±0.13 MPa) and an elongation at break (110±8%) that are appropriate for artificial blood vessels. When the scaffolds were immersed in water for 1 h, the breaking strength decreased slightly to 2.2±0.3 MPa, but the elongation at break increased to 145±21%. In platelet adhesion tests the gelatin-heparin fibrous scaffolds showed a significant suppression of platelet adhesion. Heparin was released from the scaffolds at a fairly uniform rate during the period of 2nd day to 9th day. The scaffolds are expected to mimic the complex matrix structure of native arteries, and to have good biocompatibility as an artificial blood vessel owing to the heparin release.

Keywords electrospinning      artificial blood vessels      scaffold      polyurethane      gelatin      nanofiber      hemocompatibility     
Corresponding Authors: GUO Jintang,   
Issue Date: 05 September 2011
 Cite this article:   
Heyun WANG,Yakai FENG,Marc BEHL, et al. Hemocompatible polyurethane/gelatin-heparin nanofibrous scaffolds formed by a bi-layer electrospinning technique as potential artificial blood vessels[J]. Front Chem Sci Eng, 2011, 5(3): 392-400.
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Heyun WANG
Yakai FENG
Haiyang ZHAO
Ruofang XIAO
Jian LU
Jintang GUO
Fig.1  Schematic illustration of the electrospinning equipment
Heparin content /wt-%Properties of gelatin-heparin solutionsFiber diameter /nm
Viscosity /mPa·sConductivity /μs·cm-1Surface tension /mN·m-1
Tab.1  Effect of heparin content on the properties of gelatin/heparin solutions and the diameter of electrospun gelatin-heparin fibers
Fig.2  SEM images of gelatin fibers, gelatin-heparin blended fibers and crosslinked gelatin-heparin fibers (a) gelatin fibers; (b) gelatin-heparin blended fibers with 1 wt-% heparin; (c) with 3 wt-% heparin; (d) with 5 wt-% heparin; (e) crosslinked gelatin-heparin fibers with 1 wt-% heparin
Fig.3  The weight loss of uncrosslinked and crosslinked gelatin-heparin fibrous scaffolds (heparin, 1 wt-%) in vitro at 37°C for 14 days ( = 3) □: uncrosslinked gelatin-heparin fibrous scaffolds; ○: crosslinked gelatin-heparin fibrous scaffolds
Fig.4  Macroscopic view and SEM images of the PU/gelatin-heparin tubular scaffolds (a) and( b) photos of the tubular scaffolds; (c) and (d) photos of the cross section of the tubular scaffolds; (e) SEM image of gelatin-heparin (inner-layer of scaffold, heparin 1 wt-%); (f) SEM image of PU (outer-layer of scaffold)
Scaffold IDStress at break /MPaElongation at break /%Elastic modulus /MPa
Gelatin-heparin (wetted)0.7±0.178±71.2±0.2
PU (wetted)8.4±0.2418±351.4±0.2
PU/gelatin-heparin (wetted)2.2±0.3145±211.2±0.2
Tab.2  Mechanical properties of electrospun scaffolds (heparin, 1 wt-%)
Fig.5  The heparin release curve of gelatin-heparin fibrous scaffolds in PBS at 37°C (heparin, 1 wt-%)
Fig.6  SEM images of platelet adhesion on fibrous scaffolds (a) PU scaffold; (b) crosslinked gelatin scaffold; (c) crosslinked gelatin-heparin scaffold (heparin, 1 wt-%)
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