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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 9616939, 11 pages
Research Article

Vascular Tissue Engineering: Effects of Integrating Collagen into a PCL Based Nanofiber Material

1Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery, University Hospital of Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany
2Institute of Polymer Materials, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany
3Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of Biomaterials, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Andreas Arkudas; ed.negnalre-ku@sadukra.saerdna

Received 31 March 2017; Accepted 11 July 2017; Published 28 August 2017

Academic Editor: Tatyana Novoyatleva

Copyright © 2017 Ulf Bertram et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The engineering of vascular grafts is a growing field in regenerative medicine. Although numerous attempts have been made, the current vascular grafts made of polyurethane (PU), Dacron®, or Teflon® still display unsatisfying results. Electrospinning of biopolymers and native proteins has been in the focus of research to imitate the extracellular matrix (ECM) of vessels to produce a small caliber, off-the-shelf tissue engineered vascular graft (TEVG) as a substitute for poorly performing PU, Dacron, or Teflon prostheses. Blended poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL)/collagen grafts have shown promising results regarding biomechanical and cell supporting features. In order to find a suitable PCL/collagen blend, we fabricated plane electrospun PCL scaffolds using various collagen type I concentrations ranging from 5% to 75%. We analyzed biocompatibility and morphological aspects in vitro. Our results show beneficial features of collagen I integration regarding cell viability and functionality, but also adverse effects like the loss of a confluent monolayer at high concentrations of collagen. Furthermore, electrospun PCL scaffolds containing 25% collagen I seem to be ideal for engineering vascular grafts.