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A nano-sandwich construct built with graphene nanosheets and carbon nanotubes enhances mechanical properties of hydroxyapatite–polyetheretherketone scaffolds

Authors Feng P, Peng S, Wu P, Gao C, Huang W, Deng Y, Xiao T, Shuai C

Received 20 April 2016

Accepted for publication 19 June 2016

Published 28 July 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 3487—3500


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Jiang Yang

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Pei Feng,1,* Shuping Peng,2,3,* Ping Wu,4 Chengde Gao,1 Wei Huang,1 Youwen Deng,5 Tao Xiao,5 Cijun Shuai1

1State Key Laboratory of High Performance Complex Manufacturing, 2The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion of the Chinese Ministry of Education, 3The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis of the Chinese Ministry of Health and Cancer Research Institute, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, 4College of Chemistry, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan, 5Department of Orthopedics, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: A nano-sandwich construct was built by combining two-dimensional graphene nanosheets (GNSs) and one-dimensional carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to improve the mechanical properties of hydroxyapatite–polyetheretherketone (HAP–PEEK) scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. In this nano-sandwich construct, the long tubular CNTs penetrated the interlayers of graphene and prevented their aggregation, increasing the effective contact area between the construct and matrix. The combination of GNSs and CNTs in a weight ratio of 2:8 facilitated the dispersion of each other and provided a synergetic effect in enhancing the mechanical properties. The compressive strength and modulus of the scaffolds were increased by 63.58% and 56.54% at this time compared with those of HAP–PEEK scaffolds, respectively. The carbon-based fillers, pulling out and bridging, were also clearly observed in the matrix. Moreover, the dangling of CNTs and their entangling with GNSs further reinforced the mechanical properties. Furthermore, apatite layer formed on the scaffold surface after immersing in simulated body fluid, and the cells attached and spread well on the surface of the scaffolds and displayed good viability, proliferation, and differentiation. These evidence indicate that the HAP–PEEK scaffolds enhanced by GNSs and CNTs are a promising alternative for bone tissue engineering.

Keywords: scaffold, mechanical properties, apatite-forming ability, cell culture, tissue engineering

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