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Hydrogel Composites Containing Carbon Nanobrushes as Tissue Scaffolds

  • William H. Marks (a1), Sze C. Yang (a2), George W. Dombi (a2) and Sujata K. Bhatia (a1)

Abstract

The objective of this work is to examine the feasibility of electrically conductive hydrogel composites as scaffolds in tissue engineering and tissue regeneration, and to understand the properties of the composites as a growth matrix for clinically relevant cell lines. The composite is comprised of carbon nanobrushes embedded in a biocompatible poloxamer gel. This work assesses the ability of such composite gels to support the growth of fibroblasts and myocytes and eventually serve as a matrix to stimulate wound closure. In such a model, fibroblasts and myocytes are seeded on the hydrogel and bathed in culture medium. The experimental model assesses the ability of fibroblasts and myocytes to grow into and adhere to the gel. The work demonstrates that carbon nanobrushes can be dispersed within poloxamer gels, and that fibroblasts and myocytes can proliferate within homogenously dispersed carbon nanobrush-containing poloxamer gels. This work also examines the effects of carbon nanobrush content on the rheological properties of the poloxamer gel matrix and shows an improvement in several areas in the presence of carbon nanobrushes. Future work will examine the effects of design parameters such as carbon nanobrush content and matrix structure on wound healing, as well as the growth of tendons and other cell lines within the hydrogel composites. This work has relevance for tissue and cellular engineering and tissue regeneration in clinical medicine.

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