The creation of skeletal muscle tissue in vitro is a major topic of interest today in the field of biomedical research, due to the lack of treatments for muscle loss due to traumatic accidents or disease. For this reason, the intrinsic properties of nanofibrillar structures to promote cell adhesion, proliferation, and cell alignment presents an attractive tool for regenerative medicine to recreate organized tissues such as muscle. Electrospinning is one of the processing techniques often used for the fabrication of these nanofibrous structures and the combination of synthetic and natural polymers is often required to achieve optimal mechanical and physiochemical properties. Here, polycaprolactone (PCL) is selected as a synthetic polymer used for the fabrication of scaffolds, and the effect of protein addition on the final scaffolds' properties is studied. Collagen and gelatin were the proteins selected and two different concentrations were analyzed (2 and 4 wt/vol%). Different PCL/protein systems were prepared, and a structural, mechanical and functional characterization was performed. The influence of fiber alignment on the properties of the final scaffolds was assessed through morphological, mechanical and biological evaluations. A bioreactor was used to promote cell proliferation and differentiation within the scaffolds. The results revealed that protein addition produced a decrease in the fiber size of the membranes, an increase in their hydrophilicity, and a softening of their mechanical properties. The biological study showed the ability of the selected systems to harbor cells, allow their growth and, potentially, develop musculoskeletal tissues.
- skeletal muscle cells