Processing and characterization of α-elastin electrospun membranes
Elastin isolated from fresh bovine ligaments was dissolved in a mixture of 1,1,1,3,3,3-Hexafluoro-2-propanol and water were electrospun into fiber membranes under different processing conditions. Fiber mats of randomly and aligned fibers were obtained with fixed and rotating ground collectors and fibrils were composed by thin ribbons whose width depends on electrospinning conditions; fibrils with 721 nm up to 2.12 μm width were achieved. After cross-linking with glutaraldehyde, α-elastin can uptake as much as 1700 % of PBS solution and a slight increase on fiber thickness was observed. The glass transition temperature of electrospun fiber mats was found to occur at ∼80 °C. Moreover, α-Elastin showed to be a perfect elastomeric material, and no mechanical hysteresis was found in cycle mechanical measurements. The elastic modulus obtained for random and aligned fibers mats in a PBS solution was 330±10 kPa and 732±165 kPa, respectively. Finally, the electrospinning and cross-linking process does not inhibit MC-3T3-E1 cell adhesion. Cell culture results showed good cell adhesion and proliferation in the cross-linked elastin fiber mats.