A multilayered scaffold for regeneration of smooth muscle and connective tissue layers.
Tissue regeneration often requires recruitment of different cell types and rebuilding of two or more tissue layers to restore function. Here, we describe the creation of a novel multilayered scaffold with distinct fiber organizations-aligned to unaligned and dense to porous-to template common architectures found in adjacent tissue layers. Electrospun scaffolds were fabricated using a biodegradable, tyrosine-derived terpolymer, yielding densely-packed, aligned fibers that transition into randomly-oriented fibers of increasing diameter and porosity. We demonstrate that differently-oriented scaffold fibers direct cell and extracellular matrix (ECM) organization, and that scaffold fibers and ECM protein networks are maintained after decellularization. Smooth muscle and connective tissue layers are frequently adjacent in vivo; we show that within a single scaffold, the architecture supports alignment of contractile smooth muscle cells and deposition by fibroblasts of a meshwork of ECM fibrils. We rolled a flat scaffold into a tubular construct and, after culture, showed cell viability, orientation, and tissue-specific protein expression in the tube were similar to the flat-sheet scaffold. This scaffold design not only has translational potential for reparation of flat and tubular tissue layers but can also be customized for alternative applications by introducing two or more cell types in different combinations.