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Electrospun Composites of PHBV, Silk Fibroin and nano-Hydroxyapatite for Bone Tissue Engineering

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Editorial: .


Electrospinning of fibrous scaffolds containing nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp) embedded in a matrix of functional biomacromolecules offers an attractive route to mimicking the natural bone tissue architecture. Functional fibrous substrates will support cell attachment, proliferation and differentiation, while the role of HAp is to induce cells to secrete extracellular matrix (ECM) for mineralization to form bone. Electrospinning of biomaterials composed of polyhydroxybutyrate-co-(3-hydroxyvalerate) with 2% valerate fraction (PHBV), nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp), and Bombyx mori silk fibroin essence (SF), Mw = 90KDa, has been achieved for nHAp and SF solution concentrations of 2 (w/vol) % each and 5 (w/vol) % each. The structure and properties of the nanocomposite fibrous membranes were investigated by means of Scanning Electron Microscopy in combination with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis (SEM/EDX), Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), uniaxial tensile and compressive mechanical testing, degradation tests and in vitro bioactivity tests. SEM images showed smooth, uniform and continuous fibre deposition with no bead formation, and fibre diameters of between 10 and 15 μm. EDX and FT-IR confirmed the presence of nHAp and SF. After one month in deionised water, tests showed less than 2% weight loss with the samples retaining their fibrous morphology, confirming that this material biodegrades slowly. After 28 days of immersion in Simulated Body Fluid (SBF) an apatite layer was visible on the surface of the fibres, proving their bioactivity. Preliminary in vitro biological assessment showed that after 1 and 3 days in culture, cells were attached to the fibres, retaining their morphology while presenting a flattened appearance and elongated shape on the surface of fibres. Young’s modulus was found to increase from 0.7 kPa (± 0.33 kPa) for electrospun samples of PHBV only to 1.4 kPa (± 0.54 kPa) for samples with 2 (w/vol) % each of nHAp and SF. Samples prepared with 5 (w/vol) % each of nHAp and SF did not show a similar improvement.