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Novel electro-active scaffolds and microcurrent therapy for bone regeneration


Bone defects represent an important health problem and are one of the major clinical challenges in the field of reconstructive bone surgery and, most of the time, do not meet the expectation. The increasing in life expectancy and the consequent aging of the population, fractures and critical defects assume importance in the growing prevalence of chronic health conditions. Conventional treatments require transplantation and extremely invasive approaches, becoming a challenge the developing of new treatments and therapies for the reduction of failures of bone formation. A promising proposal is the use of scaffolds, three-dimensional biomaterials with the intention of acting as a support for the influx, growth and differentiation of cells, besides allowing appropriate neovascularization and osteoconduction. Polycaprolactone-based (PCL) scaffolds have been employed in several areas of tissue engineering due to good mechanical properties, biocompatibility and absence of cytotoxicity. Graphene and carbon nanotubes, electroconductive nanomaterials, have been associated to PCL in small concentrations by our research group, aiming to clinical feasibility. Graphene and carbon nanotubes presented non-toxicity and cell proliferation. Since bone tissue responds favorably to electrical current application, the three-dimensional support provided by electroconductive scaffolds might bring promising advantages for use in tissue engineering. The search for an effective endogenous stimulation in the bone repair with substitutes that present electroconductive properties, the objective of this proposal will be to investigate the application of PCL scaffolds produced by additive manufacturing submitted to the application of microcurrent in the process of osteogenesis. (AU)

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