Electrospun fibers based on aliphatic polyesters, such as poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), have been widely used in regenerative medicine and drug delivery applications due to their biocompatibility, low cost and ease of fabrication. However, these aliphatic polyester fibers are hydrophobic in nature, resulting in poor wettability, and they lack functional groups for decorating the scaffold with chemical and biological cues. Current strategies employed to overcome these challenges include coating and blending the fibers with bioactive components or chemically modifying the fibers with plasma treatment and reactants. In the present study, we report on designing multifunctional electrospun nanofibers based on the inclusion complex of PCL-α-cyclodextrin (PCL-α-CD), which provides both structural support and multiple functionalities for further conjugation of bioactive components. This strategy is independent of any chemical modification of the PCL main chain, and electrospinning of PCL-α-CD is as easy as electrospinning PCL. Here, we describe synthesis of the PCL-α-CD electrospun nanofibers, elucidate composition and structure, and demonstrate the utility of functional groups on the fibers by conjugating a fluorescent small molecule and a polymeric-nanobead to the nanofibers. Furthermore, we demonstrate the application of PCL-α-CD nanofibers for promoting osteogenic differentiation of human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs), which induced a higher level of expression of osteogenic markers and enhanced production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins or molecules compared with control PCL fibers.
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