In this work, we investigated the interactions of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with three-dimensional (3D) printed scaffolds displaying different scaffold architectures. Pressure-assisted microsyringe system was used to fabricate scaffolds with square (SQR), hexagonal (HEX), and octagonal (OCT) architectures defined by various degrees of curvatures. OCT represents the highest degree of curvature followed by HEX, and SQR is composed of linear struts without curvature. Scaffolds were fabricated from poly(L-lactic acid) and poly(tyrosol carbonate). We found that hMSCs attached and spread by taking the shape of the individual struts, exhibiting high aspect ratios (ARs) and mean cell area when cultured on OCT scaffolds as compared with those cultured on HEX and SQR scaffolds. In contrast, cells appeared bulkier with low AR on SQR scaffolds. These significant changes in cell morphology directly correlate with the stem cell lineage commitment, such that 80 ± 1% of the hMSCs grown on OCT scaffolds differentiated into osteogenic lineage, compared with 70 ± 4% and 62 ± 2% of those grown on HEX and SQR scaffolds, respectively. Cells on OCT scaffolds also showed 2.5 times more alkaline phosphatase activity compared with cells on SQR scaffolds. This study demonstrates the importance of scaffold design to direct stem cell differentiation, and aids in the development of novel 3D scaffolds for bone regeneration.
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