Fibers2015, 3(3), 296-308; doi:10.3390/fib3030296 - published 17 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Controlled release drug delivery systems enable the sustained release of bioactive molecules, and increase bioavailability over an extended length of time. Biocompatible and biodegradable materials such as polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers and alginate hydrogel play a significant role in designing controlled release systems. Prolonged release of bioactive molecules is observed when these polymer materials are used as matrices independently. However, there has not been a report in the literature that shows how different molecules are released at various rates over time. The goal of this study is to demonstrate a novel drug delivery system that has a property of releasing designated drugs at various rates over a defined length of time. We fabricated multilayer nanofiber-hydrogel meshes using electrospun PCL nanofiber and alginate hydrogel, and evaluated their controlled release properties. The multilayer meshes are composed of sandwiched layers of alternating PCL nanofibers and alginate hydrogel. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), encapsulated in the designated hydrogel layers, is used as a mock drug for the release study. The exposed top layer of the meshes demonstrates a dramatically higher burst release and shorter release time compared to the deeper layers. Such properties of the different layers within the meshes can be employed to achieve the release of multiple drugs at different rates over a specified length of time.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 265-295; doi:10.3390/fib3030265 - published 17 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Advances in tissue engineering have enabled the ability to design and fabricate biomaterials at the nanoscale that can actively mimic the natural cellular environment of host tissue. Of all tissues, cartilage remains difficult to regenerate due to its avascular nature. Herein we have developed two new hybrid polypeptide-glycosaminoglycan microfibrous scaffold constructs and compared their abilities to stimulate cell adhesion, proliferation, sulfated proteoglycan synthesis and soluble collagen synthesis when seeded with chondrocytes. Both constructs were designed utilizing self-assembled Fmoc-protected valyl cetylamide nanofibrous templates. The peptide components of the constructs were varied. For Construct I a short segment of dentin sialophosphoprotein followed by Type I collagen were attached to the templates using the layer-by-layer approach. For Construct II, a short peptide segment derived from the integrin subunit of Type II collagen binding protein expressed by chondrocytes was attached to the templates followed by Type II collagen. To both constructs, we then attached the natural polymer N-acetyl glucosamine, chitosan. Subsequently, the glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulfate was then attached as the final layer. The scaffolds were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. In vitro culture studies were carried out in the presence of chondrocyte cells for both scaffolds and growth morphology was determined through optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy taken at different magnifications at various days of culture. Cell proliferation studies indicated that while both constructs were biocompatible and supported the growth and adhesion of chondrocytes, Construct II stimulated cell adhesion at higher rates and resulted in the formation of three dimensional cell-scaffold matrices within 24 h. Proteoglycan synthesis, a hallmark of chondrocyte cell differentiation, was also higher for Construct II compared to Construct I. Soluble collagen synthesis was also found to be higher for Construct II. The results of the above studies suggest that scaffolds designed from Construct II be superior for potential applications in cartilage tissue regeneration. The peptide components of the constructs play an important role not only in the mechanical properties in developing the scaffolds but also control cell adhesion, collagen synthesis and proteoglycan synthesis capabilities.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 253-264; doi:10.3390/fib3030253 - published 16 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of skeletal muscle fibers is a unique environment that supports the regenerative capacity of satellite cells; the resident stem cell population. The impact of environment has great bearing on key properties permitting satellite cells to carry out tissue repair. In this study, we have investigated the influence of the ECM and glycolytic metabolism on satellite cell emergence and migration—two early processes required for muscle repair. Our results show that both influence the rate at which satellite cells emerge from the sub-basal lamina position and their rate of migration. These studies highlight the necessity of performing analysis of satellite behavior on their native substrate and will inform on the production of artificial scaffolds intended for medical uses.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 206-252; doi:10.3390/fib3030206 - published 15 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We describe a framework for modeling the writing and erasure of thermally-distributed activated processes that we can specifically apply to UV-induced refractive index change, particularly in fibers. From experimental measurements (isochrons and/or isotherms), this framework allows to find the distribution function of the activation energy by providing only a constant, which can be determined by a simple variable change when a few assumptions are fulfilled. From this modeling, it is possible to know the complete evolution in time of the system. It is also possible to determine the annealing conditions for extending a lifetime. This approach can also be used for other physical quantities, such as photodarkening, stress relaxation, and luminescence decay, provided that it can be described by a distribution function.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 197-205; doi:10.3390/fib3030197 - published 2 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Despite traditional metal-based dental files, such as NiTi being demonstrated effective in root cleaning, the tooth structure is always damaged. Thus, to fulfill the need for a minimally invasive tool for contemporary endodontics and dentistry, the use of polymer fibers might provide a good option, as it is soft, fabricable, and disposable. In this study, two types of nylon fibers with respective average diameters of 206.9 µm (fiber W) and 156.4 µm (fiber B), respectively, were used as dental files, and mounted onto either a reciprocating or a low-speed rotary hand-piece. In vitro, simulated root canal models were colored red using nail varnish, and then cleaned by the fiber files mounted on the hand-pieces. Three parts of the simulated models, i.e., the apical third, the medium third, and the coronal third, were chosen to assess the cleaning the efficiency (CE) of each specimen by calculating the ratio of the cross-sectional area changes, before and after cleansing, using micro-Computer Tomography (CT). A NiTi file with a low-speed hand-piece was used as a control. SEM was used to observe the nylon fiber surfaces before and after the cleansing. Micro-CT results showed that for both the nylon fibers, W and B, an average CE of 82.11% ± 9.68% for the medium third could be achieved, which is statistically higher (p < 0.01) than the coronal third and apical third. The cleansing efficiency was not affected by, the types of fibers, nor the hand-pieces according to student’s t-test. Most of the nylon fibers could withstand deformation after the cleansing. To conclude, nylon fiber files have demonstrated a certain cleansing efficiency in simulated root canals, and micro-CT is a promising method to assess CE.
Fibers2015, 3(2), 184-196; doi:10.3390/fib3020184 - published 18 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Production of high strength carbon fibers from bio-derived precursors is of topical interest. Recently, we reported on dry-spinning of a partially acetylated softwood kraft lignin to produce carbon fibers with superior properties, but the thermo-oxidative stabilization step required a long time due to a slow heating rate needed to prevent the fibers from being heated too rapidly and sticking to each other. Here we report a rapid strategy of dual UV-thermoxidative stabilization (crosslinking) of dry-spun lignin fibers that significantly reduces the stabilization time. The fibers undergo reaction close to the surface such that they can be subsequently thermally stabilized at a rapid heating rate without fibers fusing together, which reduces the total stabilization time significantly from 40 to 4 h. Consequently, the glass transition temperature of UV irradiated fibers was about 15 °C higher than that of fibers without UV treatment. Stabilized fibers were successfully carbonized at 1000 °C and resulting carbon fibers displayed a tensile strength of 900 ± 100 MPa, which is amongst the highest reported for carbon fibers derived from softwood lignin-based precursors. These results establish that UV irradiation is a rapid step that can effectively shorten the total stabilization time for production of lignin-derived carbon fibers.