In vitro cellular & developmental biology. Animal

Regulation of astrocyte activity via control over stiffness of cellulose acetate electrospun nanofiber.

PMID 26091629


Astrocytes are involved in neuron protection following central nervous system (CNS) injury; accordingly, engineered astrocytes have been investigated for their usefulness in cell therapy for CNS injury. Nanofibers have attracted a great deal of attention in neural tissue engineering, but their mechanical properties greatly influence physiology. Cellulose acetate (CA) has been studied for use in scaffolds owing to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and good thermal stability. In this study, stiffness of CA nanofibers controlled by heat treatment was shown to regulate astrocyte activity. Adhesion and viability increased in culture as substrate became stiffer but showed saturation at greater than 2 MPa of tensile strength. Astrocytes became more active in terms of increasing intermediate filament glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The results of this study demonstrate the effects of stiffness alone on cellular behaviors in a three-dimensional culture and highlight the efficacy of heat-treated CA for astrocyte culture in that the simple treatment enables control of astrocyte activity.