Carbon nanotubes play an important role in the spatial arrangement of calcium deposits in hydrogels for bone regeneration

Giulia Cancian, Gianluca Tozzi, Amirul Ashraf Bin Hussain, Arianna De Mori, Marta Roldo

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Abstract

Age related bone diseases such as osteoporosis are considered among the main causes of reduced bone mechanical stability and bone fractures. In order to restore both biological and mechanical function of diseased/fractured bones, novel bioactive scaffolds that mimic the bone structure are constantly under development in tissue engineering applications. Among the possible candidates, chitosan-based thermosensitive hydrogel scaffolds represent ideal systems due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability, enhanced antibacterial properties, promotion of osteoblast formation and ease of injection, which makes them suitable for less invasive surgical procedures. As a main drawback, these chitosan systems present poor mechanical performance that could not support load-bearing applications. In order to produce more mechanically-competent biomaterials, the combined addition of hydroxyapatite and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is proposed in this study. Specifically, the aim of this work is to develop thermosensitive chitosan hydrogels containing stabilised single-walled and multi-walled CNTs, where their effect on the mechanical/physiochemical properties, calcium deposition patterns and ability to provide a platform for the controlled release of protein drugs was investigated. It was found that the addition of CNTs had a significant effect on the sol–gel transition time and significantly increased the resistance to compression for the hydrogels. Moreover, in vitro calcification studies revealed that CNTs played a major role in the spatial arrangements of newly formed calcium deposits in the composite materials studied, suggesting that they may have a role in the way the repair of fragile and/or fractured bones occurs in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Volume27
Issue number8
Early online date20 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

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