Preparation and properties of PLGA nanofiber membranes reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals

Yunfei Mo Rui Guo, Jianghui Liu, Yong Lan, Yi Zhang and Wei Xue, 2015

Image courtesy of Biointerfaces

Abstract

Although extensively used in the fields of drug-carrier and tissue engineering, the biocompatibility and mechanical properties of polylactide–polyglycolide (PLGA) nanofiber membranes still limit their applications. The objective of this study was to improve their utility by introducing cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) into PLGA nanofiber membranes. PLGA and PLGA/CNC composite nanofiber membranes were prepared via electrospinning, and the morphology and thermodynamic and mechanical properties of these nanofiber membranes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). The cytocompatibility and cellular responses of the nanofiber membranes were also studied by WST-1 assay, SEM, and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Incorporation of CNCs (1, 3, 5, and 7 wt.%) increased the average fiber diameter of the prepared nanofiber membranes from 100 nm (neat PLGA) to ∼400 nm (PLGA/7 wt.% CNC) and improved the thermal stability of the nanofiber membranes. Among the PLGA/CNC composite nanofiber membranes, those loaded with 7 wt.% CNC nanofiber membranes had the best mechanical properties, which were similar to those of human skin. Cell culture results showed that the PLGA/CNC composite nanofiber membranes had better cytocompatibility and facilitated fibroblast adhesion, spreading, and proliferation compared with neat PLGA nanofiber membranes. These preliminary results suggest that PLGA/CNC composite nanofiber membranes are promising new materials for the field of skin tissue engineering.

Impact Statement

The objective of this study was to improve their utility by introducing cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) into PLGA nanofiber membranes. PLGA and PLGA/CNC composite nanofiber membranes were prepared via electrospinning, and the morphology and thermodynamic and mechanical properties of these nanofiber membranes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).