For the creation of scaffolds in tissue engineering applications, it is essential to control the physical morphology of fibres and to choose compositions which do not disturb normal physiological function. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, is a well-established biopolymer used in electrospinning compositions. It shows high in-vivo stability and is able to maintain a high biomechanical strength over time. In this study, the effects of collagen type I in polylactic acid-drug electrospun scaffolds for tissue engineering applications are examined. The samples produced were subsequently characterised using a range of techniques. Scanning electron microscopy analysis shows that the fibre morphologies varied across PLA-drug and PLA-collagen-drug samples – the addition of collagen caused a decrease in average fibre diameter by nearly half, and produced nanofibres. Atomic force microscopy imaging revealed collagen-banding patterns which show the successful integration of collagen with PLA. Solid-state characterisation suggested a chemical interaction between PLA and drug compounds, irgasan and levofloxacin, and the collagen increased the amorphous regions within the samples. Surface energy analysis of drug powders showed a higher dispersive surface energy of levofloxacin compared with irgasan, and contact angle goniometry showed an increase in hydrophobicity in PLA-collagen-drug samples. The antibacterial studies showed a high efficacy of resistance against the growth of both E. coli and S. Aureus, except with PLA-collagen-LEVO which showed a regrowth of bacteria after 48 h. This can be attributed to the low drug release percentage incorporated into the nanofibre during the in vitro release study. However, the studies did show that collagen helped shift both drugs into sustained release behaviour. These ideal modifications to electrospun scaffolds may prove useful in further research regarding the acceptance of human tissue by inhibiting the potential for bacterial infection.
- physicochemical characterisation
- drug release
- secondary ion mass spectrometry
- chemical imaging
- mass spectrometry imaging