Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Papers in Scientific Journals

Surface-modified 3D starch-based scaffold for improved endothelialization for bone tissue engineering


Providing adequate vascularization is one of the main hurdles to the widespread clinical application of
bone tissue engineering approaches. Due to their unique role in blood vessel formation, endothelial
cells (EC) play a key role in the establishment of successful vascularization strategies. However,
currently available polymeric materials do not generally support EC growth without coating with
adhesive proteins. In this work we present argon plasma treatment as a suitable method to render the
surface of a 3D starch-based scaffold compatible for ECs, this way obviating the need for protein precoating.
To this end we studied the effect of plasma modification on surface properties, protein
adsorption and ultimately on several aspects regarding EC behaviour. Characterization of surface
properties revealed increased surface roughness and change in topography, while at the chemical level
a higher oxygen content was demonstrated. The increased surface roughness of the material, together
with the changed surface chemistry modulated protein adsorption as indicated by the different
adsorption profile observed for vitronectin. In vitro studies showed that human umbilical vein ECs
(HUVECs) seeded on plasma-modified scaffolds adhered, remained viable, proliferated, and
maintained the typical cobblestone morphology, as observed for positive controls (scaffold pre-coated
with adhesive proteins). Furthermore, genotypic expression of endothelial markers was maintained and
neighbouring cells expressed PECAM-1 at the single-cell-level. These results indicate that Ar plasma
modification is an effective methodology with potential to be incorporated in biomaterial strategies to
promote the formation of vascularized engineered bone.

Journal of Materials Chemistry
3D starch-based scaffold, Bone TE
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
Year of Publication
Date Published
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