Electrospinning is a widely used technique to fabricate a nanofibrous scaffold to resemble the extracellular matrix (ECM) in tissue engineering. However, the intrinsic property (dense structure and small pore size) in traditional nanofibrous membranes greatly limit cellular infiltration. In this study, we proposed a novel method to expand 2D nanofibrous membranes into 3D nanofibrous scaffolds. Based on the principle of the CO2 solubility difference in water and ethanol, the electrospun PLA nanofibers wetted by CO2 saturated ethanol was effectively foamed when being placed into a water bath due to the escape of CO2 molecules. The fabrication method is environmental friendly, eliminates the high-cost setup, and is capable of preserving the continuous nanofabrious structure. The obtained 3D PLA scaffold demonstrated a fluffy continuous nanofibrous structure with porosity achieved by 96.4%, and the surface area reached 10.8 m2/g, which is almost two times of the 2D PLA membranes. Cell culture results with 3T3 fibroblasts indicated that the cultured cells demonstrated a flourishing living state on the 3D scaffolds, showing a higher cell viability and proliferation rate than those on 2D membranes, and the cells migrated into the inner 3D scaffolds rapidly, indicating the developed 3D scaffold have great potential in tissue engineering, which should be a feasible approach in producing 3D nanofibrous scaffolds especially for hydrophobic polymers in tissue engineering field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering