DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTATION TO SYSTEMATICALLY DETERMINE THE INTERACTION BETWEEN ELECTROSPINNING VARIABLES AND TO OPTIMIZE THE FIBER DIAMETER OF ELECTROSPUN POLY (D,L-LACTIDE-CO-GLYCOLIDE) SCAFFOLDS FOR TISSUE ENGINEERED CONSTRUCTS
Date of Award
MS in Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical and General Engineering
Kristen O'Halloran Cardinal
Cardiac disease causes approximately a third of the deaths in the United States. Furthermore, most of these deaths are due to a condition termed atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, leading to occlusion of normal blood flow to the cardiac muscle. Among the methods to treat the condition, stents are devices that are used to restore normal blood flow in the atherosclerotic arteries. Before advancement can be made to these devices and changes can be tested in live models, a reliable testing method that mimics the environment of the native blood vessel is needed. Dr. Kristen Cardinal developed a tissue engineered blood vessel mimic to test intravascular devices.
Among the scaffolding material used, electrospun poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) has been used as an economic option that can be made in house. PLGA is a biodegradable co-polymer, and when electrospun, creates a porous matrix with tailorable properties. Currently, the standard PLGA electrospinning protocol produces consistent fibrous scaffolds with a mean fiber diameter of 5-6 microns. Research indicates that cell adhesion is more successful in fibrous matrices with a mean fiber diameter at the nanometer level. However, because previous work in the Tissue Engineering Laboratory at Cal Poly sought to ensure a consistent fibrous, there was no model or equation to determine how to change the electrospinning parameter settings to create scaffolds with an optimal mean fiber diameter.
To fill this need, biomedical engineering senior Steffi Wong created a design of experiment to systematically approach the electrospinning variables and determine how they interacted with each other, as well as their effect on fiber diameter. The aims of this thesis were to perform the said design of experiments and determine a model to predict the resulting mean fiber diameter of a scaffold based on the electrospinning parameters as well as to determine what combination of parameters would lead to a scaffold with an optimal mean fiber diameter between 100-200 nanometers. The variables tested were solution concentration, gap distance, flow rate, and applied voltage. Each scaffold was imaged and a mean fiber diameter was calculated and used as the predicted variable in a regression analysis, with the variables indicated above as the predictors. The goal of 100-200 nanometer mean fiber diameter was not reached. The smallest mean fiber diameter calculated was 2.74 microns—half of that of the standard protocol. The regression analysis did result in a model to describe how the voltage, gap distance, and flow rate affected the fiber diameter.