Electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds containing natural substances with wound healing properties such as Emu oil (EO) may have a great potential for increasing the efficiency of stem cell-based skin bioengineering. For this purpose, EO blended PCL/PEG electrospun nanofibrous mats were successfully fabricated and characterized using FE-SEM, FTIR and Universal Testing Machine. The efficiency of the scaffolds in supporting the adherence, cytoprotection, proliferation and differentiation of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) to keratinocyte was evaluated. GC/MS and HPLC were used to determine the composition of pure EO, which revealed to be mainly fatty acids and carotenoids. FE-SEM and cell proliferation assays showed that adhesion and proliferation of ADSCs on EO-PCL/PEG nanofibers was significantly higher than on PCL/PEG nanofibers. Additionally, EO-PCL/PEG nanofibers with free radical scavenging properties conferred a cytoprotective effect against cell-damaging free radicals, while the ability to support cell adhesion and growth was maintained or even improved. Immunostaining of ADSCs on EO-PCL/PEG nanofibers confirmed the change in morphology of ADSCs from spindle to polygonal shape suggesting their differentiation toward an epidermal linage. Moreover, the expression levels of the keratin 10, filaggrin, and involucrin that are involved in epidermal differentiation were upregulated in a stage-specific manner. This preliminary study shows that EO-PCL/PEG nanofibers could be a good candidate for the fabrication of wound dressings and skin bioengineered substitutes with ADSCs.
- Adipose tissue-derived stem cells
- Emu oil
- Epidermal differentiation