Facile and adhesive-free method for bonding nanofiber membrane onto thermoplastic polystyrene substrate to fabricate 3D cell culture platforms

Mater Today Bio. 2023 Apr 29;20:100648. doi: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2023.100648. eCollection 2023 Jun.


Nanofiber (NF) membranes have been highlighted as functional materials for biomedical applications owing to their high surface-to-volume ratios, high permeabilities, and extracellular matrix-like biomimetic structures. Because many in vitro platforms for biomedical applications are made of thermoplastic polymers (TP), a simple and leak-free method for bonding NF membranes onto TP platforms is essential. Here, we propose a facile but leak-free localized thermal bonding method for integrating 2D or 3D-structured NF membrane onto a TP supporting substrate while preserving the pristine nanofibrous structure of the membrane, based on localized preheating of the substrate. A methodology for determining the optimal preheating temperature was devised based on a numerical simulation model considering the melting temperature of the NF material and was experimentally validated by evaluating bonding stability and durability under cell culture conditions. The thermally-bonded interface between the NF membrane and TP substrate was maintained stably for 3 weeks allowing the successful construction of an intestinal barrier model. The applicability of the localized thermal bonding method was also demonstrated on various combinations of TP materials (e.g., polystyrene and polymethylmethacrylate) and geometries of the supporting substrate, including a culture insert and microfluidic chip. We expect the proposed localized thermal bonding method to contribute toward broadening and realizing the practical applications of functional NF membranes in various biomedical fields.

PMID:37214546 | PMC:PMC10192924 | DOI:10.1016/j.mtbio.2023.100648


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