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Electrical stimulation plays a critical role in a cell’s interactions with its microenvironment, guiding proliferation, differentiation, and function. Consequently, electroactive materials hold significant promise as tissue engineering scaffolds, to help guide cell fate. In their investigation of tissue engineering scaffold materials for bone repair and osteogenic differentiation, Wu et al selected Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) electrospun nanofibers to mimic the native bone microenvironment.

Piezoelectric polymer materials, such as PVDF, offer researchers an opportunity to direct bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells toward osteogenic differentiation through noninvasive electrical stimulation. Because bone itself is piezoelectric, these polymers are often selected for tissue engineering applications. However, directing cell fate towards osteogenesis involves more than just piezoelectricity.  Wu et al. delved into additional factors contributing to osteogenic differentiation, such as cell spreading and active calcium influx.

Despite PVDF’s inherent electrical stimulation capabilities, its natural hydrophobicity presents challenges for cell adhesion and spreading on the surface. To change its surface chemistry, PVDF nanofibers underwent a 90-second oxygen plasma treatment, resulting in a notable enhancement of surface hydrophilicity, with the contact angle reducing from 129.6° to 20.7°. As a result, plasma treatment improved PVDF electrospun nanofiber biocompatibility by increasing cell adhesion.


Osteogenic Differentiation Article

Wu H, Shi S, Zhou H, et al. “Stem Cell Self‐Triggered Regulation and Differentiation on Polyvinylidene fluoride electrospun nanofibers”. Advanced Functional Materials. 2023;34(4). 10.1002/adfm.202309270

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