The aliphatic polyesters PLLA (poly L-lactic acid) and PBSA (poly (butylene succinate)-co-(butylene adipate)) were used to fabricate nonwoven-type scaffolds with sub-micrometer fiber diameters via an electrospinning method. The electrospun membrane surfaces were further coated with either γ-PGA (poly-γ-glutamic acid) or collagen through physical bonding. These specialized surfaces were employed as peripheral nerve conduits to regulate cell adhesion and cell proliferation in vitro of the neuron cell line PC12. Furthermore, the expression of neuron growth-related (GAP-43, MAP-2) and apoptosis-related genes (Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, Bax, Fas) was evaluated for PC12 cells cultured on the electrospun membranes in response to NGF (nerve growth factor) treatment. No significant differences in apoptosis-related gene expression were observed as a function of membrane type. The GAP-43 and MAP-2 genes were highly expressed on the PLLA samples with NGF but performed variably on the PBSA samples depending on the type of coating material. Our results suggest that electrospun PLLA membranes can serve as proper matrices for neuron outgrowth and that electrospun PBSA membranes are suitable surfaces for PC12 cell attachment and proliferation.
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