Engineering Tendon: Scaffolds, Bioreactors, and Models of Regeneration
Carbon nanotubes (CNT) possess many unique electrical and mechanical properties that make them useful for a variety of industrial and biomedical applications. They are especially attractive materials for biomedical applications since their dimensions are similar to components of the extracellular matrix. In this study, amine-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes were crosslinked to an acellular porcine diaphragm tendon. The resulting bionanocomposite scaffolds were subjected to a number of materials characterization techniques including a collagenase assay, uniaxial tensile testing, modulated differential scanning calorimetry, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy to determine whether the properties of the original extracellular matrix were altered by the treatment processes. A variety of SWCNT concentrations were investigated. While none of the conditions investigated resulted in bionanocomposites with significantly improved physicochemical properties, no detrimental effects were observed due to any of the processing steps. Future studies should be performed to determine if carbon nanotubes can influence cellular adhesion and function in order to promote rapid integration and remodeling.