3D Scaffolds Based on Conductive Polymers for Biomedical Applications
Mecerreyes Molero, David
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Biomacromolecules 20(1) : 73-89 (2019)
3D scaffolds appear to be a cost-effective ultimate answer for biomedical applications, facilitating rapid results while providing an environment similar to in vivo tissue. These biomaterials offer large surface areas for cell or biomaterial attachment, proliferation, biosensing and drug delivery applications. Among 3D scaffolds, the ones based on conjugated polymers (CPs) and natural nonconductive polymers arranged in a 3D architecture provide tridimensionality to cellular culture along with a high surface area for cell adherence and proliferation as well electrical conductivity for stimulation or sensing. However, the scaffolds must also obey other characteristics: homogeneous porosity, with pore sizes large enough to allow cell penetration and nutrient flow; elasticity and wettability similar to the tissue of implantation; and a suitable composition to enhance cell− matrix interactions. In this Review, we summarize the fabrication methods, characterization techniques and main applications of conductive 3D scaffolds based on conductive polymers. The main barrier in the development of these platforms has been the fabrication and subsequent maintenance of the third dimension due to challenges in the manipulation of conductive polymers. In the last decades, different approaches to overcome these barriers have been developed for the production of conductive 3D scaffolds, demonstrating a huge potential for biomedical purposes. Finally, we present an overview of the emerging strategies developed to manufacture 3D conductive scaffolds, the techniques used to fully characterize them, and the biomedical fields where they have been applied.