Plastic Surgery Research Council
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Presenter: Daniel Garcia
Co-Authors: Campbell R; Reiffel AJ; Hernandez KA; Delnero P; Garcia D; Boyko T; Spector JA
Weill Cornell Medical College

Introduction: Wound healing is a complex, variable and often unpredictable process. Acellular dermal matrices are used to reconstruct areas of tissue loss seen in burn and trauma patients, thereby reducing donor site morbidity. Currently available acellular dermal matrices are avascular, precluding their use over poorly vascularized areas such as tendon, bone, and cartilage. We have previously shown that well-defined pores guide cellular adhesion and vertical invasion. Here we fabricate collagen scaffolds, containing vertical pores and lateral networks that direct both vertical and lateral cellular invasion.

Methods: As previously described, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stamps containing 100 ?m pores, spaced 300 ?m apart were transferred from SU-8 masters via soft lithography. Neutralized type I collagen was used with or without Pluronic F127 fibers (100-200 ?m in diameter) to create 8 mm scaffolds with vertical pores alone, longitudinal channels alone, interconnected pores and channels and blank controls. Scaffolds were subcutaneously implanted into the dorsa of C57Bl/6 mice. After 7 and 14 days scaffolds were harvested. Hematoxylin and eosin, immunohistochemical staining for CD31, -SMA, and DAPI was performed and scaffolds imaged.

Results: Scaffolds containing pores and interconnected pores and channels showed an increased rate of cellular adhesion and greater cellular invasion as compared to blank controls where cells were seen primarily along the surface. Lateral and vertical invasion was demonstrated by cellular invasion of longitudinal channels on scaffolds with interconnected pores and channels.

Conclusions: We have demonstrated that the creation of biodegradable, biocompatible collagen scaffolds with specifically designed microfeatures have the capacity to drive cellular adhesion and deeper invasion within a matrix. Scaffolds with contiguous vertical pores and perpendicular axial channels have the potential to revolutionize reconstructive surgery by facilitating lateral cell invasion and neovascualrization from wound margins, permitting its use over suboptimal, avascular wounds.

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