Biocompatibility of immobilized aligned carbon nanotubes
In vivo host responses to an electrode-like array of aligned carbon nanotubes (ACNTs) embedded within a biopolymer sheet are reported. This biocompatibility study assesses the suitability of immobilized carbon nanotubes for bionic devices. Inflammatory responses and foreign-body histiocytic reactions are not substantially elevated when compared to negative controls following 12 weeks implantation. A fibrous capsule isolates the implanted ACNTs from the surrounding muscle tissue. Filamentous nanotube fragments are engulfed by macrophages, and globular debris is incorporated into the fibrous capsule with no further reaction. Scattered leukocytes are observed, adherent to the ACNT surface. These data indicate that there is a minimal local foreign-body response to immobilized ACNTs, that detached fragments are phagocytosed into an inert material, and that ACNTs do not attract high levels of surface fouling. Collectively, these results suggest that immobilized nanotube structures should be considered for further investigation as bionic components.