One of the main challenges in treating osteochondral lesions via tissue engineering approach is providing scaffolds with unique characteristics to mimic the complexity. It has led to application of heterogeneous scaffolds as a potential candidate for engineering of osteochondral tissues, in which graded multilayered-structure should promote bone and cartilage growth. By designing three-dimensional (3D)-nanofibrous scaffolds mimicking the native extracellular matrix’s nanoscale structure, cells can grow in controlled conditions and regenerate the damaged tissue. In this study, novel 3D-functionality graded nanofibrous scaffolds composed of five layers based on different compositions containing polycaprolactone(PCL)/gelatin(Gel)/nanohydroxyapatite (nHA) for osteoregeneration and chitosan(Cs)/polyvinylalcohol(PVA) for chondral regeneration are introduced. This scaffold is fabricated by electrospinning technique using spring as collector to create 3D-nanofibrous scaffolds. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, mechanical compression test, porosimetry, and water uptake studies were applied to study each layer’s physicochemical properties and whole functionally graded scaffold. Besides, biodegradation and biological studies were done to investigate biological performance of scaffold. Results showed that each layer has a fibrous structure with continuous nanofibers with improved pore size and porosity of novel 3D scaffold (6-13 μm and 90%) compared with two-dimensional (2D) mat (2.2 μm and 19.3%) with higher water uptake capacity (about 100 times of 2D mat). Compression modulus of electrospun scaffold was increased to 78 MPa by adding nHA. The biological studies revealed that the layer designed for osteoregeneration could improve cell proliferation rate in comparison to the layer designed for chondral regeneration. These results showed such structure possesses a promising potential for the treatment of osteochondral defects.
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