Enhancement of Bone Healing by Local Administration of Carbon Nanotubes Functionalized with Sodium Hyaluronate in Rat Tibiae

Cells Tissues Organs. 2017;204(3-4):137-149. doi: 10.1159/000453030. Epub 2017 Aug 12.


It has been reported that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) serve as nucleation sites for the deposition of bone matrix and cell proliferation. Here, we evaluated the effects of multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs) on bone repair of rat tibiae. Furthermore, because sodium hyaluronate (HY) accelerates bone restoration, we associated CNTs with HY (HY-MWCNTs) in an attempt to boost bone repair. The bone defect was created by a 1.6-mm-diameter drill. After 7 and 14 days, tibiae were processed for histological and morphometric analyses. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in bone defects. Expression of osteocalcin (OCN), bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), and collagen I (Col I) was assessed by real-time PCR. Histomorphometric analysis showed a similar increase in the percentage of bone trabeculae in tibia bone defects treated with HY and HY-MWCNTs, and both groups presented more organized and thicker bone trabeculae than nontreated defects. Tibiae treated with MWCNTs or HY- MWCNTs showed a higher expression of VEGF. Treatment with MWCNTs or HY-MWCNTs increased the expression of molecules involved in the bone repair process, such as OCN and BMP-2. Also, HY- and MWCNT-treated tibiae had an increased expression of Col I. Thus, it is tempting to conclude that CNTs associated or not with other materials such as HY emerged as a promising biomaterial for bone tissue engineering.

Keywords: Bone healing; Bone morphogenetic protein; Carbon nanotubes; Sodium hyaluronate; Tibia; Vascular endothelial growth factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Hyaluronic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Hyaluronic Acid