Optimising collagen scaffold architecture for enhanced periodontal ligament fibroblast migration.

Ashworth, Jennifer C  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4189-8876
Mehr, Marco 
Buxton, Paul G 
Best, Serena M 
Cameron, Ruth E 

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Design of cell-free scaffolds for endogenous cell recruitment requires an intimate knowledge of precise relationships between structure and biological function. Here, we use morphological analysis by Micro-CT to identify the key structural features necessary for periodontal ligament fibroblast recruitment into collagen scaffolds. By the combined use of time-lapse imaging and end-point invasion analysis, we distinguish the influences of pore size, pore wall alignment, and pore transport pathways (percolation diameter) on the individual cell migration and bulk invasion characteristics of these fibroblasts. Whereas maximising percolation diameter increased individual cell speed, elongation and directionality, and produced the most rapid bulk cell invasion, a pore size of 100 μm was found to be necessary to ensure an even distribution of cells across the scaffold cross-section. These results demonstrate that control of percolation diameter and pore size may be used respectively to tune the efficiency and uniformity of invasion through macroporous scaffolds. Crucially, however, these observations were subject to the condition of pore wall alignment, with low alignment in the direction of travel producing relatively low cell speeds and limited invasion in all cases. Pore wall alignment should therefore be carefully optimised in the design of scaffolds for cell recruitment, such as that required for periodontal ligament regeneration, as a key determining factor for cell movement.

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Cell Movement, Collagen, Fibroblasts, Humans, Periodontal Ligament, Tissue Engineering, Tissue Scaffolds
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J Mater Sci Mater Med
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
European Research Council (320598)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N019938/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grants EP/P505445/1, EP/J500380/1 and EP/N019938/1, Geistlich Pharma AG (of which PG Buxton and M Mehr are employees) and European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant 320598-3D-E