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Graphene oxide/multi-walled carbon nanotubes as nanofeatured scaffolds for the assisted deposition of nanohydroxyapatite: characterization and biological evaluation

Authors Rodrigues BV, Leite NC, Cavalcanti BN, da Silva NS, Marciano FR, Corat EJ, Webster TJ, Lobo AO

Received 13 February 2016

Accepted for publication 21 March 2016

Published 13 June 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 2569—2585

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S106339

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lakshmi Kiran Chelluri

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Bruno VM Rodrigues,1,* Nelly CS Leite,1,* Bruno das Neves Cavalcanti,2 Newton S da Silva,3 Fernanda R Marciano,1 Evaldo J Corat,4 Thomas J Webster,5,6 Anderson O Lobo1

1Laboratory of Biomedical Nanotechnology, Institute of Research and Development (IP&D), University of Vale do Paraiba (UNIVAP), Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil; 2Department of Cardiology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; 3Laboratory of Cell Biology and Tissue, Institute of Research and Development (IP&D), University of Vale Do Paraiba (UNIVAP), 4Associated Laboratory of Sensors and Materials, National Institute for Space Research, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil; 5Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA; 6Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Nanohydroxyapatite (nHAp) is an emergent bioceramic that shows similar chemical and crystallographic properties as the mineral phase present in bone. However, nHAp presents low fracture toughness and tensile strength, limiting its application in bone tissue engineering. Conversely, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have been widely used for composite applications due to their excellent mechanical and physicochemical properties, although their hydrophobicity usually impairs some applications. To improve MWCNT wettability, oxygen plasma etching has been applied to promote MWCNT exfoliation and oxidation and to produce graphene oxide (GO) at the end of the tips. Here, we prepared a series of nHAp/MWCNT-GO nanocomposites aimed at producing materials that combine similar bone characteristics (nHAp) with high mechanical strength (MWCNT-GO). After MWCNT production and functionalization to produce MWCNT-GO, ultrasonic irradiation was employed to precipitate nHAp onto the MWCNT-GO scaffolds (at 1–3 wt%). We employed various techniques to characterize the nanocomposites, including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Raman spectroscopy, thermogravimetry, and gas adsorption (the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller method). We used simulated body fluid to evaluate their bioactivity and human osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) to evaluate cytocompatibility. We also investigated their bactericidal effect against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. TEM analysis revealed homogeneous distributions of nHAp crystal grains along the MWCNT-GO surfaces. All nanocomposites were proved to be bioactive, since carbonated nHAp was found after 21 days in simulated body fluid. All nanocomposites showed potential for biomedical applications with no cytotoxicity toward osteoblasts and impressively demonstrated a bactericidal effect without the use of antibiotics. All of the aforementioned properties make these materials very attractive for bone tissue engineering applications, either as a matrix or as a reinforcement material for numerous polymeric nanocomposites.

Keywords: nanohydroxyapatite, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide, in vitro, bactericidal effect, bioactivity, bone cells, tissue engineering

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