A novel approach to produce artificial bone composites (microfibers) with distinctive features mimicking natural tissue was investigated. Currently proposed inorganic materials (e.g. apatite matrixes) lack self-assembly and thereby limit interactions between cells and the material. The present work investigates the feasibility of creating "bio-inspired materials" specifically designed to overcome certain limitations inherent to current biomaterials. We examined the dimensions, morphology, and constitutive features of a composite hydrogel which combined an alginate based microfiber with a gelatin solution or a particulate form of urinary bladder matrix (UBM). The effectiveness of the composite microfibers to induce and modulate osteoblastic differentiation in three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds without altering the viability and morphological characteristics of the cells was investigated. The present study describes a novel alginate microfiber production method with the use of microfluidics. The microfluidic procedure allowed for precise tuning of microfibers which resulted in enhanced viability and function of embedded cells.
- Osteoblastic differentiation