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A novel construct as a cell carrier for tissue engineering

A 3D scaffold, in the form of a foam, with the top surface carrying a micropattern, was constructed from biodegradable polyesters poly(3-hydroxybutyric acid-co-3-hydroxyvaleric acid) (PHBV) and poly(L-lactide-co-D, L-lactide) (P(L/DL)LA) to serve as a substitute for the extracellular matrix (ECM) of tissues with more than one cell type. The construct was tested in vitro for engineering of such tissues using fibroblasts (3T3) and epithelial cells ( retinal pigment epithelial cells, D407). The patterned surface was seeded with D407 cells and the foam was seeded with 3T3 cells to represent a tissue with two different cell types. To improve cell adhesion, the construct was treated with fibronectin. The cells were seeded on the construct in a sequence allowing each type time for adhesion. Cell proliferation, studied by MTS assay, was significantly higher than that of tissue culture polystyrene control by day 14. Scanning electron and fluorescence microscopy showed that the foam side of the construct was highly porous and the pores were interconnected and this allowed cell mobility and proliferation. Immunostaining showed collagen deposition, indicating the secretion of the new ECM by the cells. On the film side of the construct D407 cells formed piles in the grooves and covered the surface completely. It was concluded that the 3D P(L/DL)LA-PHBV construct with one micropatterned surface has a serious potential for use as a tissue engineering carrier in the reconstruction of complex tissues with layered organization and different types of cells in each region.