Influence of pore architectures of silk fibroin/collagen composite scaffolds on the regeneration of osteochondral defects in vivo†
The regeneration of osteochondral defects faces great challenges because of the limited self-regenerative capabilities of cartilage tissues. In situ inductive regeneration can be realized using bioactive scaffolds combined with endogenous reparative cells. Cell migration could be significantly facilitated by scaffolds with oriented channels. For this purpose, silk fibroin (SF) was composited with collagen (Col) to fabricate extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimetic SF/Col composite scaffolds with random pores, radially aligned pores or axially aligned pores by ice-templated assembly and temperature gradient-guided thermally-induced phase separation. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation confirmed the random and aligned architectures in the respective scaffolds. The three kinds of SF/Col composite scaffolds exhibited a porous structure with a porosity of ∼85%, an appropriate elastic modulus with mechanical anisotropy in the aligned scaffolds, and good biocompatibility. The oriented channels could improve in vivo cell migration and infiltration. During the tissue remodeling processes, the regeneration of osteochondral tissues particularly cartilage was obviously faster in the radially aligned scaffold group than in the other two groups. Nevertheless, satisfactory regeneration was achieved in the two aligned scaffold groups with hyaline cartilage formation at 18 weeks post-surgery, while a hybrid of hyaline cartilage and fibrocartilage was formed in the random scaffold group.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Journal of Materials Chemistry B HOT Papers