Materials Science and Engineering C, Materials for Biological Applications vol:33 issue:6 pages:3404-3412
In the present study a structural characterization and in vitro cell-biological evaluation was performed on polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds that were produced by the additive manufacturing technique selective laser sintering (SLS), followed by a plasma-based surface modification technique, either non-thermal oxygen plasma or double protein coating, to functionalize the PCL scaffold surfaces. In the first part of this study pore morphology by means of 2-D optical microscopy, surface chemistry by means of hydrophilicity measurement and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, strut surface roughness by means of 3-D micro-computed tomography (CT) imaging and scaffold mechanical properties by means of compression testing were evaluated before and after the surface modifications. The results showed that both surface modifications increased the PCL scaffold hydrophilicity without altering the morphological and mechanical properties. In the second part of this study the in vitro cell proliferation and differentiation of human osteoprogenitor cells, over 14 days of culture in osteogenic and growth medium was investigated. The O2 plasma modification gave rise to a significant lower in vitro cell proliferation compared to the untreated and double protein coated scaffolds. Furthermore the double protein coating increased in vitro cell metabolic activity and cell differentiation compared to the untreated and O2 plasma PCL scaffolds when osteogenic medium was used.