Electrospun GelMA fibers and p(HEMA) matrix composite for corneal tissue engineering
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The development of biocompatible and transparent three-dimensional materials is desirable for corneal tissue engineering. Inspired from the cornea structure, gelatin methacryloyl-poly(2-hydroxymethyl methacrylate) (GelMA-p(HEMA)) composite hydrogel was fabricated. GelMA fibers were produced via electrospinning and covered with a thin layer of p(HEMA) in the presence of N,N?-methylenebisacrylamide (MBA) as cross-linker by drop-casting. The structure of resulting GelMA-p(HEMA) composite was characterized by spectrophotometry, microscopy, and swelling studies. Biocompatibility and biological properties of the both p(HEMA) and GelMA-p(HEMA) composite have been investigated by 3D cell culture, red blood cell hemolysis, and protein adsorption studies (i.e., human serum albumin, human immunoglobulin and egg white lysozyme). The optical transmittance of the GelMA-p(HEMA) composite was found to be approximately 70% at 550 nm. The GelMA-p(HEMA) composite was biocompatible with tear fluid proteins and convenient for cell adhesion and growth. Thus, as prepared hydrogel composite may find extensive applications in future for the development of corneal tissue engineering as well as preparation of stroma of the corneal material. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.