Many recent studies have been conducted to assess the ability of composite materials containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with high bone affinity to serve as scaffolds in bone regenerative medicine. These studies have demonstrated that CNTs can effectively induce bone formation. However, no studies have investigated the usefulness of scaffolds consisting exclusively of CNTs in bone regenerative medicine. We built a three-dimensional block entity with maximized mechanical strength from multi-walled CNTs (MWCNT blocks) and evaluated their efficacy as scaffold material for bone repair. When MWCNT blocks containing recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) were implanted in mouse muscle, ectopic bone was formed in direct contact with the blocks. Their bone marrow densities were comparable to those of PET-reinforced collagen sheets with rhBMP-2. On day 1 and day 3, MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts were attached to the scaffold surface of MWCNT blocks than that of PET-reinforced collagen sheets. They also showed a maximum compression strength comparable to that of cortical bone. Our MWCNT blocks are expected to serve as bone defect filler and scaffold material for bone regeneration.
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