Monthly Archives: September 2013

Stem Cells + Carbon Nanotubes + Polymers = Cartilage?

Dr. Lijie Grace Zhang and colleagues from George Washington University have described a process to enhance cartilage formation.  The article title, abstract, and link (requires IOP Nanomaterials subscription) are below:

Enhanced human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell functions in novel 3D cartilage scaffolds with hydrogen treated multi-walled carbon nanotubes

Cartilage tissue is a nanostructured tissue which is notoriously hard to regenerate due to its extremely poor inherent regenerative capacity and complex stratified architecture. Current treatment methods are highly invasive and may have many complications. Thus, the goal of this work is to use nanomaterials and nano/microfabrication methods to create novel biologically inspired tissue engineered cartilage scaffolds to facilitate human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) chondrogenesis. To this end we utilized electrospinning to design and fabricate a series of novel 3D biomimetic nanostructured scaffolds based on hydrogen (H2) treated multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and biocompatible poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) polymers. Specifically, a series of electrospun fibrous PLLA scaffolds with controlled fiber dimension were fabricated in this study. In vitro MSC studies showed that stem cells prefer to attach in the scaffolds with smaller fiber diameter. More importantly, the MWCNT embedded scaffolds showed a drastic increase in mechanical strength and a compressive Young’s modulus matching to natural cartilage. Furthermore, our MSC differentiation results demonstrated that incorporation of the H2 treated carbon nanotubes and poly-L-lysine coating can induce more chondrogenic differentiations of MSCs than controls. After two weeks of culture, PLLA scaffolds with H2 treated MWCNTs and poly-L-lysine can achieve the highest glycosaminoglycan synthesis, making them promising for further exploration for cartilage regeneration.