Previous studies have demonstrated that multi-walled carbon nanotubes grown out of anodized nanotubular titanium (MWNT-Ti) can be used as a sensing electrode for various biomedical applications; such sensors detected the redox reactions of certain molecules, specifically proteins deposited by osteoblasts during extracellular matrix bone formation. Since it is known that polypyrrole (PPy) can release drugs upon electrical stimulation, in this study antibiotics (penicillin/streptomycin, P/S) or an anti-inflammatory drug (dexamethasone, Dex), termed PPy[P/S] or PPy[Dex], respectively, were electrodeposited in PPy on titanium. The objective of the present study was to determine if such drugs can be released from PPy on demand and (by applying a voltage) control cellular behavior important for orthopedic applications. Results showed that PPy films possessed nanometer-scale roughness as analyzed by atomic force microscopy. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirmed the presence of P/S and Dex encapsulated within the PPy films. Results from cyclic voltammetry showed that 80% of the drugs were released on demand when sweep voltages were applied for five cycles at a scan rate of 0.1 V s(-1). Furthermore, osteoblast (bone-forming cells) and fibroblast (fibrous tissue-forming cells) adhesion were determined on the PPy films. Results showed that PPy[Dex] enhanced osteoblast adhesion after 4 h of culture compared to plain Ti. PPy-Ti (with or without anionic drug doping) inhibited fibroblast adhesion compared to plain Ti. These in vitro results confirmed that electrodeposited PPy[P/S] and PPy[Dex] can release drugs on demand to potentially fight bacterial infection, reduce inflammation, promote bone growth or reduce fibroblast functions, further implicating the use of such materials as implant sensors.
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