Carbon Nanotube Scaffolds Instruct Human Dendritic Cells: Modulating Immune Responses by Contacts at the Nanoscale

Nanomaterials interact with cells and modify their function and biology. Manufacturing this ability can provide tissue-engineering scaffolds with nanostructures able to influence tissue growth and performance. Carbon nanotube compatibility with biomolecules motivated ongoing interest in the development of biosensors and devices including such materials. More recently, carbon nanotubes have been applied in several areas of nerve tissue engineering to study cell behavior or to instruct the growth and organization of neural networks. To gather further knowledge on the true potential of future constructs, in particular to assess their immune-modulatory action, we evaluate carbon nanotubes interactions with human dendritic cells (DCs). DCs are professional antigen-presenting cells and their behavior can predict immune responses triggered by adhesion-dependent signaling. Here, we incorporate DC cultures to carbon nanotubes and we show by phenotype, microscopy, and transcriptional analysis that in vitro differentiated and activated DCs show when interfaced to carbon nanotubes a lower immunogenic profile.