Collagen-carbon nanotube composite materials as scaffolds in tissue engineering

Rebecca A. MacDonald, Brendan F. Laurenzi, Gunaranjan Viswanathan, Pulickel M. Ajayan, Jan P. Stegemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

341 Scopus citations


Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are attractive for use in fiber-reinforced composite materials due to their very high aspect ratio, combined with outstanding mechanical and electrical properties. Composite materials comprising a collagen matrix with embedded CNT were prepared by mixing solubilized Type I collagen with solutions of carboxylated single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) at concentrations of 0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, and 2.0 weight percent. Living smooth muscle cells were incorporated at the time of collagen gelation to produce cell-seeded collagen-CNT composite matrices. Constructs containing 2.0 wt % CNT exhibited delayed gel compaction, relative to lower concentrations that compacted at the same rate as pure collagen controls. Cell viability in all constructs was consistently above 85% at both Day 3 and Day 7, whereas cell number in CNT-containing constructs was lower than in control constructs at Day 3, though statistically unchanged by Day 7. Scanning electron microscopy showed physical interactions between CNT and collagen matrix. Raman spectroscopy confirmed the presence of CNT at the expected diameter (0.85-1.30 nm), but did not indicate strong molecular interactions between the collagen and CNT components. Such collagen-CNT composite matrices may have utility as scaffolds in tissue engineering, or as components of biosensors or other medical devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomaterials
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Collagen
  • Composites
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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