Fabrication and characterisation of biomimetic, electrospun gelatin fibre scaffolds for tunica media-equivalent, tissue engineered vascular grafts

Y. Elsayed, C. Lekakou, F. Labeed, P. Tomlins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


It is increasingly recognised that biomimetic, natural polymers mimicking the extracellular matrix (ECM) have low thrombogenicity and functional motifs that regulate cell-matrix interactions, with these factors being critical for tissue engineered vascular grafts especially grafts of small diameter. Gelatin constitutes a low cost substitute of soluble collagen but gelatin scaffolds so far have shown generally low strength and suture retention strength. In this study, we have devised the fabrication of novel, electrospun, multilayer, gelatin fibre scaffolds, with controlled fibre layer orientation, and optimised gelatin crosslinking to achieve not only compliance equivalent to that of coronary artery but also for the first time strength of the wet tubular acellular scaffold (swollen with absorbed water) same as that of the tunica media of coronary artery in both circumferential and axial directions. Most importantly, for the first time for natural scaffolds and in particular gelatin, high suture retention strength was achieved in the range of 1.8-1.94 N for wet acellular scaffolds, same or better than that for fresh saphenous vein. The study presents the investigations to relate the electrospinning process parameters to the microstructural parameters of the scaffold, which are further related to the mechanical performance data of wet, crosslinked, electrospun scaffolds in both circumferential and axial tubular directions. The scaffolds exhibited excellent performance in human smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, with SMCs seeded on the top surface adhering, elongating and aligning along the local fibres, migrating through the scaffold thickness and populating a transverse distance of 186 μm and 240 μm 9 days post-seeding for scaffolds of initial dry porosity of 74 and 83%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-483
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell culture
  • Gelatin
  • Mechanical properties
  • Microstructure
  • Scaffold
  • Vascular grafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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