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Summary form only given. We report on the fabrication of high resolution 3D scaffolds of polylactide-based materials using direct laser writing and we explore their use as neural tissue engineering scaffolds. A critical component for successfully tissue engineer complex 3D tissues from a cell source is the production and utilisation of an appropriate 3D scaffold. Indeed, cells seeded on a flat surface grow typically in a monolayer fashion, while 3D cell cultures can only be achieved via their growth in a 3D micro-environment or scaffold. The success of these scaffolds in their use for tissue engineering is critically dependent on their mechanical properties, surface properties, and microstructure. Here, we investigate the relationship between scaffold topology and cell growth of neural cells on 3D scaffolds fabricated using Direct fs Laser Writing (DLW) of a polylactide-based material. DLW has been demonstrated as a technology for the fabrication of 3D structures with high resolution. The technique is based on the phenomenon of multi-photon polymerization. When the beam of an ultrafast infrared laser is tightly focused into the volume of a photosensitive material, the polymerization process can be initiated by nonlinear absorption within the focal volume. By moving the laser focus three-dimensionally through the photosensitive material, 3D structures can be fabricated. Recently, we explored DLW for use in the construction of biodegradable scaffolds using a poly-caprolactone based photopolymer. Here, we describe the synthesis and use of a polylactide-based (PLA) photopolymer and we show that it can be structured accurately in three-dimensions via DLW. We report the fabrication of high-resolution 2.5D and 3D structures and we study neuronal cell growth on these structures, to specifically assess neurocompatibility of the used materials. Additionally, we highlight the use of these structures for studying aligned neuronal growth and neuronal cell ingrowth in 3D microstr- - uctures. This study indicates that DLW is a feasible fabrication route for manufacturing 3D tissue engineering scaffolds with reproducible feature shape and sizes.
Date of Conference: 22-26 May 2011