Engineered 3D printed poly(ɛ-caprolactone)/graphene scaffolds for bone tissue engineering

Weiguang Wang, Junior José Roberto, Nalesso Paulo Roberto, Musson David, Cornish Jillian, Mendonça Fernanda, Caetano Guilherme, Paulo Jorge Da Silva Bartolo

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    Scaffolds are important physical substrates for cell attachment, proliferation and differentiation. Multiple factors could influence the optimal design of scaffolds for a specific tissue, such as the geometry, the materials used to modulate cell proliferation and differentiation, its biodegradability and biocompatibility. The optimal design of a scaffold for a specific tissue strongly depends on both materials and manufacturing processes. Previous studies of human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) seeded on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)/graphene scaffolds have proved that the addition of small concentrations of graphene to PCL scaffolds improves cell proliferation. Based on such results, this paper further investigates, for the first time, both in vitro and in vivo characteristics of 3D printed PCL/graphene scaffolds. Scaffolds were evaluated from morphological, biological and short term im- mune response points of view. Results show that the produced scaffolds induce an acceptable level of immune response, suggesting high potential for in vivo applications. Finally, the scaffolds were used to treat a rat calvaria critical size defect with and without applying micro electrical stimulation (10 μA). Quantification of connective and new bone tissue formation and the levels of ALP, RANK, RANKL, OPG were considered. Results show that the use of scaffolds containing graphene and electrical stimulation seems to increase cell migration and cell influx, leading to new tissue formation, well-organized tissue deposition and bone remodelling.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)759-770
    Number of pages12
    JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
    Early online date16 Mar 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


    • 3D scaffolds
    • Electrical stimulation
    • Graphene
    • In vivo bone regeneration
    • Polycaprolactone
    • Tissue engineering


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