Assessing the response of human primary macrophages to defined fibrous architectures fabricated by melt electrowriting

Carlotta Mondadori, Amit Chandrakar, Silvia Lopa, Paul Wieringa, Giuseppe Talò, Silvia Perego, Giovanni Lombardi, Alessandra Colombini, Matteo Moretti, Lorenzo Moroni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The dual role of macrophages in the healing process depends on macrophage ability to polarize into phenotypes that can propagate inflammation or exert anti-inflammatory and tissue-remodeling functions. Controlling scaffold geometry has been proposed as a strategy to influence macrophage behavior and favor the positive host response to implants. Here, we fabricated Polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds by Melt Electrowriting (MEW) to investigate the ability of scaffold architecture to modulate macrophage polarization. Primary human macrophages unpolarized (M0) or polarized into M1, M2a, and M2c phenotypes were cultured on PCL films and MEW scaffolds with pore geometries (square, triangle, and rhombus grid) characterized by different angles. M0, M2a, and M2c macrophages wrapped along the fibers, while M1 macrophages formed clusters with rounded cells. Cell bridges were formed only for angles up to 90°. No relevant differences were found among PCL films and 3D scaffolds in terms of surface markers. CD206 and CD163 were highly expressed by M2a and M2c macrophages, with M2a macrophages presenting also high levels of CD86. M1 macrophages expressed moderate levels of all markers. The rhombus architecture promoted an increased release by M2a macrophages of IL10, IL13, and sCD163 compared to PCL films. The proangiogenic factor IL18 was also upregulated by the rhombus configuration in M0 and M2a macrophages compared to PCL films. The interesting findings obtained for the rhombus architecture represent a starting point for the design of scaffolds able to modulate macrophage phenotype, prompting investigations addressed to verify their ability to facilitate the healing process in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalBioactive Materials
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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