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European Polymer Journal

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Fabrication and optimization of conductive scaffolds capable of inducing proper intercellular connections through electrical signals is critical for neural tissue engineering. In this research, electrospun conductive PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol)/PEDOT(poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)) scaffolds were fabricated in different compositions. Conductivity of electrospinning solutions and electrospun scaffolds were measured. Morphology and topography, mechanical properties and water contact angle of scaffolds were analyzed. Chemistry of scaffolds were studied using FTIR analysis, while biocompatibility and cellular interactions with scaffolds were tested using MTT assay and cellular attachment and spreading testing. Our results show improvements in PEDOT-containing scaffolds, in terms of physiochemical properties, and cell viability compared to pure PVA scaffolds. After optimization of scaffolds, real-time PCR analysis was used to study neural differentiation of rat mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Scaffold samples with and without induction of electrical stimulation are shown to upregulate β-tubulin, nestin and enolase as compared to TCP samples. Additionally, expression of nestin gene in scaffold samples with electrical stimulation was 1.5 times more significant than scaffold sample. Overall, this study shows that using PVA/PEDOT conductive scaffolds with electrical stimulation can improve cellular response and neural differentiation through mimicking the properties of native neural tissue.


Accepted version. European Polymer Journal, Vol. 140 (November 5, 2020): 110051. DOI. © 2020 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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