Magnetically responsive nanofibrous ceramic scaffolds for on-demand motion and drug delivery
Yonggang Zhang, Jiaping Li, Pamela Habibovic
Smart biomaterials, featuring not only bioactivity, but also dynamic responsiveness to external stimuli, are desired for biomedical applications, such as regenerative medicine, and hold great potential to expand the boundaries of the modern clinical practice. Herein, a magnetically responsive three-dimensional scaffold with sandwich structure is developed by using hydroxyapatite (HA) nanowires and ferrosoferric oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles as building blocks. The magnetic HA/Fe3O4 scaffold is fully inorganic in nature, but shows polymeric hydrogel-like characteristics including a 3D fibrous network that is highly porous (>99.7% free volume), deformable (50% deformation) and elastic, and tunable stiffness. The magnetic HA/Fe3O4 scaffold has been shown to execute multimodal motion upon exposure to an external magnetic field including shape transformation, rolling and somersault. In addition, we have demonstrated that the magnetic scaffold can serve as a smart carrier for remotely controlled, on-demand delivery of compounds including an organic dye and a protein. Finally, the magnetic scaffold has exhibited good biocompatibility, supporting the attachment and proliferation of human mesenchymal stromal cells, thereby showing great potential as smart biomaterials for a variety of biomedical applications.