Cryo-Electrospinning Generates Highly Porous Fiber Scaffolds Which Improves Trabecular Meshwork Cell Infiltration

Human trabecular meshwork is a sieve-like tissue with large pores, which plays a vital role in aqueous humor outflow. Dysfunction of this tissue can occur, which leads to glaucoma and permanent vision loss. Replacement of trabecular meshwork with a tissue-engineered device is the ultimate objective. This study aimed to create a biomimetic structure of trabecular meshwork using electrospinning. Conventional electrospinning was compared to cryogenic electrospinning, the latter being an adaptation of conventional electrospinning whereby dry ice is incorporated in the fiber collector system. The dry ice causes ice crystals to form in-between the fibers, increasing the inter-fiber spacing, which is retained following sublimation. Structural characterization demonstrated cryo-scaffolds to have closer recapitulation of the trabecular meshwork, in terms of pore size, porosity, and thickness. The attachment of a healthy, human trabecular meshwork cell line (NTM5) to the scaffold was not influenced by the fabrication method. The main objective was to assess cell infiltration. Cryo-scaffolds supported cell penetration deep within their structure after seven days, whereas cells remained on the outer surface for conventional scaffolds. This study demonstrates the suitability of cryogenic electrospinning for the close recapitulation of trabecular meshwork and its potential as a 3D in vitro model and, in time, a tissue-engineered device.

Crouch, Devon J., Carl M. Sheridan, Julia G. Behnsen, Raechelle A. D’Sa, and Lucy A. Bosworth. “Cryo-Electrospinning Generates Highly Porous Fiber Scaffolds Which Improves Trabecular Meshwork Cell Infiltration.” Journal of Functional Biomaterials 14, no. 10 (2023): 490.

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