Neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation in the conductive PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffold for neural tissue engineering†
Engineering scaffolds with excellent electro-activity is increasingly important in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Herein, conductive poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) doped with hyaluronic acid (PEDOT-HA) nanoparticles were firstly synthesized via chemical oxidant polymerization. A three-dimensional (3D) PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffold was then developed by introducing PEDOT-HA nanoparticles into a chitosan/gelatin (Cs/Gel) matrix. HA, as a bridge, not only was used as a dopant, but also combined PEDOT into the Cs/Gel via chemical crosslinking. The PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffold was used as a conductive substrate for neural stem cell (NSC) culture in vitro. The results demonstrated that the PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffold had excellent biocompatibility for NSC proliferation and differentiation. 3D confocal fluorescence images showed cells attached on the channel surface of Cs/Gel and PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffolds with a normal neuronal morphology. Compared to the Cs/Gel scaffold, the PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffold not only promoted NSC proliferation with up-regulated expression of Ki67, but also enhanced NSC differentiation into neurons and astrocytes with up-regulated expression of β tubulin-III and GFAP, respectively. It is expected that this electro-active and bio-active PEDOT-HA/Cs/Gel scaffold will be used as a conductive platform to regulate NSC behavior for neural tissue engineering.