Flexible, Conductive Bone Tissue Scaffolds for Tissue Generation from Stem Cells

Technology #15653

Electrical Stimulation of Stem Cells Results in Increased Calcium, Collagen, and Alkaline Phosphatase Associated with Bone Formation

These electroactive bone tissue scaffolds promote flexible growth of human mesenchymal stem cells, enhancing their differentiation toward osteogenic outcomes. The stem cell therapy market will be worth $330 million by 2020. Mesenchymal stem cells are found in many different tissues inside the human body and have the innate ability to grow into several types of cells over time given a surface and a trigger to develop into tissue. Studies show that using an electric trigger improves performance of cell growth. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed some of the earliest tissue scaffolds that conduct electricity and increase osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells and chemical indicators of bone development. Since mesenchymal stem cells are adaptable, it is possible that the technologies also could stimulate their transformation into other body parts such as nerve or muscle tissue.


Scaffolds that electrically stimulate human mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate towards osteogenic outcomes and produce biominerals associated with bone tissue growth


  • Enables the electrical stimulation of human mesenchymal stem cells, enhancing their differentiation toward osteogenic outcomes
  • Increases quantities of alkaline phosphatase, calcium, and collagen, forming the calcified extracellular matrix associated with bone
  • Indicates that the behavior of cells within scaffolds can be manipulated, offering promise for surgical interventions with pro-regenerative biomaterials


These conductive bone tissue scaffolds use electricity to stimulate human mesenchymal stem cell toward osteogenic differentiation and growth. The biomineralized scaffold can use three different materials – nonwoven polycaprolactone fibers, silk foam, or general polymers. At periodic intervals, an electric charge will trigger the stem cells inside to grow and differentiate towards bone-like outcomes. Experiments reveal that the stem cells take advantage of the properties of the surfaces to increase the amount of alkaline phosphatase, calcium, and collagen deposition. Furthermore, the silk foam tissue scaffolds reached 4 millimeters in height and diameter (to the best of our knowledge, the largest scaffolds to be electrically stimulated in the scientific literature). Eventually, the phosphatase, calcium, and collagen produced can lead to the formation of calcified extracellular matrices associated with bones.