Scaffolds are cell adhesive matrices for the realisation of tissue constructs. Here we describe how scaffolds for tissue engineering can also be used as sensors for monitoring cellular activity such as adhesion and spreading. Carbon nanotube polymer composites were fabricated into membranes and scaffolds with electro-conductive properties. Impedance techniques were used to measure the effects of media and cell cultures on composite membranes and the results were analysed using lumped parameter models. We show that protein adhesion can be distinguished from cell adhesion as the impedance changes are much smaller for the latter (5%). In the presence of cells, impedance changes are of the order of 40% and can be correlated with adhesion, spreading and changes in cell density.
- Carbon nanotubes
- Impedance monitoring