A tissue engineered intervertebral disc (IVD) anchor the circumference and top/bottom sides of nucleus pulposus (NP) implants with annulus fibrosus and endplates. The proper anchorage of a NP implant to annulus fibrosus and endplates is possible by enclosing the NP by electrospun fiber mesh that mimics the surrounding structures. The biomechanical performance of silicone based NP can be improved if electrospun fiber mesh can secure all sides of silicone NP. However, it is unknown whether silicone surrounded by an electrospun nanofiber matrix can better restore the biomechanical functions of the disc in compare to intact, IVD made with silicone only, and, IVD made with silicone anchored all sides by nanofiber. This study compared the compressive and viscoelastic properties of a silicone and electrospun nanofiber anchored silicone discs (ENAS) under compression and shear with the same properties of human NP. This study developed a nonlinear finite element model (FEM) for the intact and ENAS implanted human lumbar vertebra segments. The compression test results show that ENAS disc compressive modulus (87.47 ± 7.56 kPa, n = 3) is significantly higher in compare to silicone gel (38.75 ± 2.15 kPa, n = 3) and the value is within the range of the compressive modulus of human NP (64.9 ± 44.1 kPa). The rheological test results show that ENAS disc compressive modulus (16 ∼ 40 kPa) is significantly higher in compare to silicone gel (0.10 ∼ 0.16 kPa) and the value is within the range of the compressive modulus of human NP (7 ∼ 20 kPa). These results confirm the suitability of ENAS disc over silicone as NP implant. A finite element model has been developed based on the ENAS properties. The FEA results showed that ENAS can restore better the biomechanical motions of a lumbar vertebra segments in compare to silicone NP.

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