alexa Nano-biotechnology: carbon nanofibres as improved neural and orthopaedic implants


Immunome Research

Author(s): Thomas J Webster, Michael C Waid, Janice L McKenzie, Rachel L Price, Jeremiah U Ejiofor

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For the continuous monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of neural tissue, implantable probes are required. However, sometimes such neural probes (usually composed of silicon) become encapsulated with non-conductive, undesirable glial scar tissue. Similarly for orthopaedic implants, biomaterials (usually titanium and/or titanium alloys) often become encapsulated with undesirable soft fibrous, not hard bony, tissue. Although possessing intriguing electrical and mechanical properties for neural and orthopaedic applications, carbon nanofibres/nanotubes have not been widely considered for these applications to date. The present work developed a carbon nanofibre reinforced polycarbonate urethane (PU) composite in an attempt to determine the possibility of using carbon nanofibres (CNs) as either neural or orthopaedic prosthetic devices. Electrical and mechanical characterization studies determined that such composites have properties suitable for neural and orthopaedic applications. More importantly, cell adhesion experiments revealed for the first time the promise these materials have to increase neural (nerve cell) and osteoblast (bone-forming cell) functions. In contrast, functions of cells that contribute to glial scar-tissue formation for neural prostheses (astrocytes) and fibrous-tissue encapsulation events for bone implants (fibroblasts) decreased on PU composites containing increasing amounts of CNs. In this manner, this study provided the first evidence of the future that CN formulations may have towards interacting with neural and bone cells which is important for the design of successful neural probes and orthopaedic implants, respectively.

This article was published in IOP science and referenced in Immunome Research

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