Piezoelectric materials for tissue regeneration: A review

Amir Hossein Rajabi, Michael Jaffe, Treena Livingston Arinzeh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

424 Scopus citations


The discovery of piezoelectricity, endogenous electric fields and transmembrane potentials in biological tissues raised the question whether or not electric fields play an important role in cell function. It has kindled research and the development of technologies in emulating biological electricity for tissue regeneration. Promising effects of electrical stimulation on cell growth and differentiation and tissue growth has led to interest in using piezoelectric scaffolds for tissue repair. Piezoelectric materials can generate electrical activity when deformed. Hence, an external source to apply electrical stimulation or implantation of electrodes is not needed. Various piezoelectric materials have been employed for different tissue repair applications, particularly in bone repair, where charges induced by mechanical stress can enhance bone formation; and in neural tissue engineering, in which electric pulses can stimulate neurite directional outgrowth to fill gaps in nervous tissue injuries. In this review, a summary of piezoelectricity in different biological tissues, mechanisms through which electrical stimulation may affect cellular response, and recent advances in the fabrication and application of piezoelectric scaffolds will be discussed. Statement of Significance The discovery of piezoelectricity, endogenous electric fields and transmembrane potentials in biological tissues has kindled research and the development of technologies using electrical stimulation for tissue regeneration. Piezoelectric materials generate electrical activity in response to deformations and allow for the delivery of an electrical stimulus without the need for an external power source. As a scaffold for tissue engineering, growing interest exists due to its potential of providing electrical stimulation to cells to promote tissue formation. In this review, we cover the discovery of piezoelectricity in biological tissues, its connection to streaming potentials, biological response to electrical stimulation and commonly used piezoelectric materials for tissue regeneration. This review summarizes their potential as a promising scaffold in the tissue engineering field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3778
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Piezoelectric
  • Scaffolds
  • Tissue engineering
  • Tissue regeneration


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