Nanofibrious composite poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and chitosan/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) membranes were prepared by simultaneously electrospinning PLGA and chitosan/PVA from two different syringes. The in vitro degradation of PLGA and cross-linked composite membranes was examined for up to 10 weeks in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS, pH 7.4) at 37 degrees C. The pH of PBS, the weight average molecular weight of PLGA, fiber morphology and mechanical properties, including tensile strength, Young's modulus and elongation-at-break, were measured as a function of degradation time. The fibrous composite membranes were further investigated as a promising scaffold for human embryo skin fibroblasts (hESFs) culture. The cell adhesion and morphology of hESFs seeded on each electrospun membrane was observed using scanning electron microscope and inverted phase contrast microscopy after Wright-Giemsa staining. The introduction of chitosan/PVA component changed the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance and, thus, influenced degradation behavior and mechanical properties of the composite membranes during degradation. The cells could not only favorably attach and grow well on the composite membranes, but were also able to migrate and infiltrate the membranes. Therefore, the results suggest that the composite membranes can positively mimic the structure of natural extracellular matrices and have the potential for application as three-dimensional tissue-engineering scaffolds.
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