Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) nanofiber scaffold has received increasing interest as a promising material for potential application in the field of regenerative medicine. However, the low hydrophilicity and poor ductility restrict its practical application. Integration of hydrophilic elastic polymer onto the surface of the nanofiber scaffold may help to overcome the drawbacks of PLA material. Herein, we successfully optimized the parameters for in situ deposition of poly(vinyl alcohol), (PVA) onto post-electrospun PLA nanofibers using a simple hydrothermal approach. Our results showed that the average fiber diameter of coated nanofiber mat is about 1265±222nm, which is remarkably higher than its pristine counterpart (650±180nm). The hydrophilicity of PLA nanofiber scaffold coated with a PVA thin layer improved dramatically (36.11±1.5°) compared to that of pristine PLA (119.7±1.5°) scaffold. The mechanical testing showed that the PLA nanofiber scaffold could be converted from rigid to ductile with enhanced tensile strength, due to maximizing the hydrogen bond interaction during the heat treatment and in the presence of PVA. Cytocompatibility performance of the pristine and coated PLA fibers with PVA was observed through an in vitro experiment based on cell attachment and the MTT assay by EA.hy926 human endothelial cells. The cytocompatibility results showed that human cells induced more favorable attachment and proliferation behavior on hydrophilic PLA composite scaffold than that of pristine PLA. Hence, PVA coating resulted in an increase in initial human cell attachment and proliferation. We believe that the novel PVA-coated PLA nanofiber scaffold developed in this study, could be a promising high performance biomaterial in regeneration medicine.
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