Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are considered to be excellent reinforcements for biorelated applications, but, before being incorporated into biomedical devices, their biocompatibility need to be investigated thoroughly. We investigated the ability of films of pristine MWCNTs to influence human mesenchymal stem cells’ proliferation, morphology, and differentiation into osteoblasts. Moreover, the selective integrin subunit expression and the adhesion mechanism to the substrate were evaluated on the basis of adherent cell number and adhesion strength, following the treatment of cells with blocking antibodies to a series of integrin subunits. Results indicated that MWCNTs accelerated cell differentiation to a higher extent than tissue culture plastic, even in the absence of additional biochemical inducing agents. The pre-treatment with anti-integrin antibodies decreased number of adherent cells and adhesion strength at 4–60%, depending on integrin subunit. These findings suggest that pristine MWCNTs represent a suitable reinforcement for bone tissue engineering scaffolds.

A. KROUSTALLI, S. KOURKOULI, D. DELIGIANNI, Ann Biomed Eng 41, 2013, 2655-2665. DOI: 10.1007/s10439-013-0860-0.