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Review Paper: Progress In The Field Of Conducting Polymers For Tissue Engineering Applications

Anca-Dana Bendrea, Luminita Cianga, Ioan Cianga

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This review focuses on one of the most exciting applications area of conjugated conducting polymers, which is tissue engineering. Strategies used for the biocompatibility improvement of this class of polymers (including biomolecules’ entrapment or covalent grafting) and also the integrated novel technologies for smart scaffolds generation such as micropatterning, electrospinning, self-assembling are emphasized. These processing alternatives afford the electroconducting polymers nanostructures, the most appropriate forms of the materials that closely mimic the critical features of the natural extracellular matrix. Due to their capability to electronically control a range of physical and chemical properties, conducting polymers such as polyaniline, polypyrrole, and polythiophene and/or their derivatives and composites provide compatible substrates which promote cell growth, adhesion, and proliferation at the polymer—tissue interface through electrical stimulation. The activities of different types of cells on these materials are also presented in detail. Specific cell responses depend on polymers surface characteristics like roughness, surface free energy, topography, chemistry, charge, and other properties as electrical conductivity or mechanical actuation, which depend on the employed synthesis conditions. The biological functions of cells can be dramatically enhanced by biomaterials with controlled organizations at the nanometer scale and in the case of conducting polymers, by the electrical stimulation. The advantages of using biocompatible nanostructures of conducting polymers (nanofibers, nanotubes, nanoparticles, and nanofilaments) in tissue engineering are also highlighted.