• osteoblast;
  • adhesion;
  • carbon fiber;
  • nanometer;
  • PLGA;
  • orthopedic


Carbon nanofibers have exceptional theoretical mechanical properties (such as low weight-to-strength ratios) that, along with possessing nanoscale fiber dimensions similar to crystalline hydroxyapatite found in bone, suggest strong possibilities for use as an orthopedic/dental implant material. To determine, for the first time, cytocompatibility properties pertinent for bone prosthetic applications, osteoblast (bone-forming cells), fibroblast (cells contributing to callus formation and fibrous encapsulation events that result in implant loosening), chondrocyte (cartilage-forming cells), and smooth muscle cell (for comparison purposes) adhesion were determined on carbon nanofibers in the present in vitro study. Results provided evidence that, compared to conventional carbon fibers, nanometer dimension carbon fibers promoted select osteoblast adhesion. Moreover, adhesion of other cells was not influenced by carbon fiber dimensions. In fact, smooth muscle cell, fibroblast, and chondrocyte adhesion decreased with an increase in either carbon nanofiber surface energy or simultaneous change in carbon nanofiber chemistry. To determine properties that selectively enhanced osteoblast adhesion, similar cell adhesion assays were performed on polymer (specifically, poly-lactic-co-glycolic; PLGA) casts of carbon fiber compacts previously tested. Compared to PLGA casts of conventional carbon fibers, results provided the first evidence of enhanced select osteoblast adhesion on PLGA casts of nanophase carbon fibers. The summation of these results demonstrate that due to a high degree of nanometer surface roughness, carbon fibers with nanometer dimensions may be optimal materials to selectively increase osteoblast adhesion necessary for successful orthopedic/dental implant applications. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res 70A: 129–138, 2004