Preparation and Characterization of Nano-Laponite/PLGA Composite Scaffolds for Urethra Tissue Engineering


The purpose of this study was to construct a biomimetic urethral repair substitute. The nano-Laponite/polylactic acid–glycolic acid copolymer (PLGA) fiber scaffolds were produced to replicate the natural human urethra tissue microenvironment. PLGA (molar ratio 50:50) and Laponite were used in this study as raw materials. The nano-Laponite/PLGA scaffolds were fabricated via electrospinning technology. After preparing the material, the microstructural and mechanical properties of the nano-Laponite/PLGA scaffold were tested via scanning electron microscopy and electronic universal testing. The effects of different amounts of Laponite on the degradation of the nano-Laponite/PLGA scaffold were studied. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were co-cultured with PLGA and nano-Laponite/PLGA scaffolds for 24, 48, or 72 h. Scanning electron microscopy results illustrated that the microstructure of the scaffold fabricated by electrospinning was similar to that of the natural extracellular matrix. When the electrospinning liquid contained 10% Laponite, the nano-Laponite/PLGA stress–strain curve illustrated that the scaffold has strong elastic deformation ability. HUVECs exhibited good growth on the nano-Laponite/PLGA scaffold. When the scaffold contained 1% Laponite, the cell proliferation rate in the CCK-8 test was significantly better than that for the other three materials, displaying good cell culture characteristics. The 1% nano-Laponite/PLGA composite scaffold can be used as a suitable urethral repair material, but its performance requires further development and research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. 1.

    Yang, B., Peng, B., & Zheng, J. (2011). Cell-based tissue-engineered urethras. Lancet, 378(9791), 568–569.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Guan, Y., Ou, L., Hu, G., Wang, H., Xu, Y., Chen, J., et al. (2008). Tissue engineering of urethra using human vascular endothelial growth factor gene-modified bladder urothelial cells. Artificial Organs, 32(2), 91–99.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Williamson, M. R., Black, R., & Kielty, C. (2006). PCL-PU composite vascular scaffold production for vascular tissue engineering: attachment, proliferation and bioactivity of human vascular endothelial cells. Biomaterials, 27(19), 3608–3616.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Ghasemi-Mobarakeh, L., Prabhakaran, M. P., Morshed, M., Nasr-Esfahani, M. H., & Ramakrishna, S. (2008). Electrospun poly(epsilon-caprolactone)/gelatin nanofibrous scaffolds for nerve tissue engineering. Biomaterials, 29(34), 4532–4539.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Eberli, D., Freitas Filho, L., Atala, A., & Yoo, J. J. (2009). Composite scaffolds for the engineering of hollow organs and tissues. Methods (San Diego, CA), 47(2), 109–115.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Selim, M., Bullock, A. J., Blackwood, K. A., Chapple, C. R., & MacNeil, S. (2011). Developing biodegradable scaffolds for tissue engineering of the urethra. BJU International, 107(2), 296–302.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Fossum, M., & Nordenskjold, A. (2010). Tissue-engineered transplants for the treatment of severe hypospadias. Hormone Research in Paediatrics, 73, 148–152.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Kalantari, K., Afifi, A. M., Jahangirian, H., & Webster, T. J. (2019). Biomedical applications of chitosan electrospun nanofibers as a green polymer: Review. Carbohydrate Polymers, 207, 588–600.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Jia, W., Tang, H., Wu, J., Hou, X., Chen, B., Chen, W., et al. (2015). Urethral tissue regeneration using collagen scaffold modified with collagen binding VEGF in a beagle model. Biomaterials, 69, 45–55.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Haider, A., Gupta, K. C., & Kang, I.-K. (2014). title. Nanoscale Research letters, 9(1), 314.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Wang, J.-H., Xu, Y.-M., Fu, Q., Song, L.-J., Li, C., Zhang, Q., et al. (2013). Continued sustained release of VEGF by PLGA nanospheres modified BAMG stent for the anterior urethral reconstruction of rabbit. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, 6(6), 481–484.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Gaharwar, A. K., Schexnailder, P. J., Dundigalla, A., White, J. D., Matos-Pérez, C. R., Cloud, J. L., et al. (2011). Highly extensible bio-nanocomposite fibers. Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 32(1), 50–57.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Schexnailder, P. J., Gaharwar, A. K., Bartlett, R. L., II, Seal, B. L., & Schmidt, G. (2010). Tuning cell adhesion by incorporation of charged silicate nanoparticles as cross-linkers to polyethylene oxide. Macromolecular Bioscience, 10(12), 1416–1423.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Dawson, J. I., Kanczler, J. M., Yang, X. B., Attard, G. S., & Oreffo, R. O. (2011). Clay gels for the delivery of regenerative microenvironments. Advanced Materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), 23(29), 3304–3308.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Chen, D., Sun, K., Mu, H., Tang, M., Liang, R., Wang, A., et al. (2012). title. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 7, 2621.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Lee, S. J., Heo, D. N., Moon, J. H., Ko, W. K., Lee, J. B., Bae, M. S., et al. (2014). Electrospun chitosan nanofibers with controlled levels of silver nanoparticles. Preparation, characterization and antibacterial activity. Carbohydrate Polymers, 111, 530–537.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Wang, F., Sun, Z., Yin, J., & Xu, L. (2019). Preparation, characterization and properties of porous PLA/PEG/curcumin composite nanofibers for antibacterial application. Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland), 9(4).

  18. 18.

    Lv, X., Guo, Q., Han, F., Chen, C., Ling, C., Chen, W., & Li, B. (2016). Electrospun poly(l-lactide)/poly(ethylene glycol) scaffolds seeded with human amniotic mesenchymal stem cells for urethral epithelium repair. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(8).

  19. 19.

    Wang, K., Guo, C., Dong, X., Yu, Y., Wang, B., Liu, W., et al. (2018). In vivo evaluation of reduction-responsive alendronate-hyaluronan-curcumin polymer-drug conjugates for targeted therapy of bone metastatic breast cancer. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 15(7), 2764–2769.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Chen, D., Lian, S., Sun, J., Liu, Z., Zhao, F., Jiang, Y., et al. (2016). Design of novel multifunctional targeting nano-carrier drug delivery system based on CD44 receptor and tumor microenvironment pH condition. Drug Delivery, 23(3), 798–803.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Gaharwar, A. K., Mukundan, S., Karaca, E., Dolatshahi-Pirouz, A., Patel, A., Rangarajan, K., et al. (2014). Nanoclay-enriched poly(varepsilon-caprolactone) electrospun scaffolds for osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells. Tissue Engineering Part A, 20(15-16), 2088–2101.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Zhou, S., Yang, R., Zou, Q., Zhang, K., Yin, T., Zhao, W., et al. (2017). Fabrication of tissue-engineered bionic urethra using cell sheet technology and labeling by ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide for full-thickness urethral reconstruction. Theranostics, 7(9), 2509–2523.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Liang, M., Li, Z., Gao, C., Wang, F., & Chen, Z. (2018). Preparation and characterization of gelatin/sericin/carboxymethyl chitosan medical tissue glue. Journal of Applied Biomaterials & Functional Materials, 16(2), 97–106.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was financially supported by grants from the Guangzhou Women and Children Medical Center (No. 0170006), Taishan Young Scholar Program (No. qnts20161035), and Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation for Outstanding Young Scholar (No. ZR2019YQ30), Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation for Key Basic Research (No. ZR2019ZD24).

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jiakang Yu or Daquan Chen.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial conflicts of interest.

Ethical Statement

No animal experiments were performed for this article.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wang, Z., Hu, J., Yu, J. et al. Preparation and Characterization of Nano-Laponite/PLGA Composite Scaffolds for Urethra Tissue Engineering. Mol Biotechnol 62, 192–199 (2020).

Download citation


  • Laponite
  • PLGA
  • Urethral stent
  • Electrospinning
  • HUVECs