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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7176154, 16 pages
Research Article

Micro- and Macrostructured PLGA/Gelatin Scaffolds Promote Early Cardiogenic Commitment of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vitro

1Institute for Chemical-Physical Processes, IPCF C.N.R., UOS Pisa, 56122 Pisa, Italy
2Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Orbassano, 10043 Turin, Italy
3Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
4National Institute of Research in Metrology, INRIM, 10135 Turin, Italy
5Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, University of Pisa, 56122 Pisa, Italy

Received 2 April 2016; Revised 30 June 2016; Accepted 2 August 2016

Academic Editor: Jaime E. Ramirez-Vick

Copyright © 2016 Caterina Cristallini 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 biomaterial scaffold plays a key role in most tissue engineering strategies. Its surface properties, micropatterning, degradation, and mechanical features affect not only the generation of the tissue construct in vitro, but also its in vivo functionality. The area of myocardial tissue engineering still faces significant difficulties and challenges in the design of bioactive scaffolds, which allow composition variation to accommodate divergence in the evolving myocardial structure. Here we aimed at verifying if a microstructured bioartificial scaffold alone can provoke an effect on stem cell behavior. To this purpose, we fabricated microstructured bioartificial polymeric constructs made of PLGA/gelatin mimicking anisotropic structure and mechanical properties of the myocardium. We found that PLGA/gelatin scaffolds promoted adhesion, elongation, ordered disposition, and early myocardial commitment of human mesenchymal stem cells suggesting that these constructs are able to crosstalk with stem cells in a precise and controlled manner. At the same time, the biomaterial degradation kinetics renders the PLGA/gelatin constructs very attractive for myocardial regeneration approaches.