Development of electrically conductive porous silk fibroin/CNF scaffolds.

Tufan, Yiğithan
Öztatlı, H
Garipcan, B
Ercan, B
Tissue engineering applications typically require 3D scaffolds which provide requisite surface area for cellular functions, while allowing nutrient, waste and oxygen transportation with the surrounding tissues. Concurrently, scaffolds should ensure sufficient mechanical properties to provide mechanically stable frameworks under physiologically relevant stress levels. In the meantime, electrically conductive platforms are also desired for the regeneration of specific tissues, where electrical impulses are transmitted throughout the tissue for proper physiological functioning. Towards this goal, carbon nanofibers (CNFs) were incorporated into silk fibroin (SF) scaffolds whose pore size and porosity were controlled during salt leaching process. In our methodology, CNFs were dispersed in SF owing to the hydrogen bond forming ability of hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP), a fluoroalcohol used as a solvent for silk fibroin. Results showed enhanced electrical conductivity and mechanical properties upon the incorporation of CNFs into the SF scaffolds, while metabolic activities of cells cultured on SF/CNF nanocomposite scaffolds were significantly improved via optimizing CNF content, porosity and pore size range of the scaffolds. Specifically, SF/CNF nanocomposite scaffolds having electrical conductivities as high as 0.023 S/cm and tangent modulus values of 260±30 kPa, while having porosity as high as 78% and pore size of 376±53 µm were fabricated -for the first time- in literature. Furthermore, ~34% increase in the wettability of SF was achieved upon the incorporation of 10% CNF, which provided enhanced fibroblast spreading on scaffold surfaces.

Citation Formats
Y. Tufan, H. Öztatlı, B. Garipcan, and B. Ercan, “Development of electrically conductive porous silk fibroin/CNF scaffolds.,” Biomedical materials (Bristol, England), 2020, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: