This study investigates the effect of 3D-bioplotted polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffold geometry on the biological and mechanical characteristics of human adipose-derived stem cell (hASC) seeded constructs.
Four 3D-bioplotted scaffold disc designs (Ø14.5 x 2 mm) with two levels of strand-pore feature sizes and two strand laydown patterns (0°/90° or 0°/120°/240°) were evaluated for hASC viability, proliferation, and construct compressive stiffness after 14 days of in vitro cell culture.
Scaffolds with the highest porosity (smaller strand-pore size in 0°/120°/240°) yielded the highest hASC proliferation and viability. Further testing of this design in a 6 mm thick configuration showed that cells were able to penetrate and proliferate throughout the scaffold thickness. The design with the lowest porosity (larger strand-pore size in 0°/90°) had the highest compression modulus after 14 days of culture, but resulted in the lowest hASC viability. The strand laydown pattern by itself did not influence the compression modulus of scaffolds. The 14-day cell culture also did not cause significant changes in compressive properties in any of the four designs.
Human ASC hold great potential for musculoskeletal tissue engineering applications due to their relative ease of harvest, abundance, and differentiation abilities. This study reports on the effects of 3D-bioplotted scaffold geometry on mechanical and biological characteristics of hASC-seeded PCL constructs. The results provide the basis for future studies which will utilize this optimal scaffold design to develop constructs for hASC-based osteochondral tissue engineering applications.