Compósitos CNTs/biocerâmico para estimulação elétrica óssea in situ


The present thesis aims to develop a biocompatible and electroconductor bone graft containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that allows the in situ regeneration of bone cells by applying pulsed external electrical stimuli. The CNTs were produced by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) by a semi-continuous method with a yield of ~500 mg/day. The deposition parameters were optimised to obtain high pure CNTs ~99.96% with controlled morphologies, fundamental requisites for the biomedical application under study. The chemical functionalisation of CNTs was also optimised to maximise their processability and biocompatibility. The CNTs were functionalised by the Diels-Alder cycloaddition of 1,3-butadiene. The biological behaviour of the functionalised CNTs was evaluated in vitro with the osteoblastic cells line MG63 and in vivo, by subcutaneous implantation in rats. The materials did not induce an expressed inflammatory response, but the functionalised CNTs showed a superior in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility than the non-functionalised ones. Composites of ceramic matrix, of bioglass (Glass) and hydroxyapatite (HA), reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNT/Glass/HA) were processed by a wet approach. The incorporation of just 4.4 vol% of CNTs allowed the increase of 10 orders of magnitude of the electrical conductivity of the matrix. In vitro studies with MG63 cells show that the CNT/Glass/HA composites guarantee the adhesion and proliferation of bone cells, and stimulate their phenotype expression, namely the alkaline phosphate (ALP). The interactions between the composite materials and the culture medium (α-MEM), under an applied electrical external field, were studied by scanning vibrating electrode technique. An increase of the culture medium electrical conductivity and the electrical field confinement in the presence of the conductive samples submerged in the medium was demonstrated. The in vitro electrical stimulation of MG63 cells on the conductive composites promotes the increase of the cell metabolic activity and DNA content by 130% and 60%, relatively to the non-stimulated condition, after only 3 days of daily stimulation of 15 μA for 15 min. Moreover, the osteoblastic gene expression for Runx2, osteocalcin (OC) and ALP was enhanced by 80%, 50% and 25%, after 5 days of stimulation. Instead, for dielectric materials, the stimulus delivering was less efficient, giving an equal or lower cellular response than the non-stimulated condition. The proposed electroconductive bone grafts offer exciting possibilities in bone regeneration strategies by delivering in situ electrical stimulus to cells and consequent control of the new bone tissue formation rate. It is expected that conductive smart biomaterials might turn the selective bone electrotherapy of clinical relevance by decreasing the postoperative healing times.

subject category



Diogo Miguel Rodrigues Marinho da Mata

our authors


Rui Ramos Ferreira e Silva; Ascensão Lopes


Share this project:

Related Publications

We use cookies for marketing activities and to offer you a better experience. By clicking “Accept Cookies” you agree with our cookie policy. Read about how we use cookies by clicking "Privacy and Cookie Policy".