J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(1), 50-65; doi:10.3390/jfb6010050 - published 22 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Corneal blindness affects over 10 million people worldwide and current treatment strategies often involve replacement of the defective layer with healthy tissue. Due to a worldwide donor cornea shortage and the absence of suitable biological scaffolds, recent research has focused on the development of tissue engineering techniques to create alternative therapies. This review will detail how we have refined the simple engineering technique of plastic compression of collagen to a process we now call Real Architecture for 3D Tissues (RAFT). The RAFT production process has been standardised, and steps have been taken to consider Good Manufacturing Practice compliance. The evolution of this process has allowed us to create biomimetic epithelial and endothelial tissue equivalents suitable for transplantation and ideal for studying cell-cell interactions in vitro.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(1), 33-49; doi:10.3390/jfb6010033 - published 14 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Previous reports indicate that N-acetyl-d-glucosamine oligomers (chitin oligosaccharide; NACOS) and d-glucosamine oligomers (chitosan oligosaccharide; COS) have various biological activities, especially against cancer and inflammation. In this review, we have summarized the findings of previous investigations that have focused on anticancer or anti-inflammatory properties of NACOS and COS. Moreover, we have introduced recent evaluation of NACOS and COS as functional foods against cancer and inflammatory disease.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(1), 16-32; doi:10.3390/jfb6010016 - published 13 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: It has been demonstrated that three-dimensional (3D) cell culture models represent fundamental tools for the comprehension of cellular phenomena both for normal and cancerous tissues. Indeed, the microenvironment affects the cellular behavior as well as the response to drugs. In this study, we performed a morphological analysis on a hepatocarcinoma cell line, HepG2, grown for 24 days inside a bioartificial hydrogel composed of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and gelatin (G) to model a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 3D. Morphological features of PVA/G hydrogels were investigated, resulting to mimic the trabecular structure of liver parenchyma. A histologic analysis comparing the 3D models with HepG2 cell monolayers and tumor specimens was performed. In the 3D setting, HepG2 cells were viable and formed large cellular aggregates showing different morphotypes with zonal distribution. Furthermore, β-actin and α5β1 integrin revealed a morphotype-related expression; in particular, the frontline cells were characterized by a strong immunopositivity on a side border of their membrane, thus suggesting the formation of lamellipodia-like structures apt for migration. Based on these results, we propose PVA/G hydrogels as valuable substrates to develop a long term 3D HCC model that can be used to investigate important aspects of tumor biology related to migration phenomena.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(1), 1-13; doi:10.3390/jfb6010001 - published 5 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This work reports the feasibility of caffeic acid grafted PLGA (g-CA-PLGA) to design biodegradable sterile microspheres for the delivery of proteins. Ovalbumin (OVA) was selected as model compound because of its sensitiveness of γ-radiation. The adopted grafting procedure allowed us to obtain a material with good free radical scavenging properties, without a significant modification of Mw and Tg of the starting PLGA (Mw PLGA = 26.3 ± 1.3 kDa vs.Mw g-CA-PLGA = 22.8 ± 0.7 kDa; Tg PLGA = 47.7 ± 0.8 °C vs.Tg g-CA-PLGA = 47.4 ± 0.2 °C). By using a W1/O/W2 technique, g-CA-PLGA improved the encapsulation efficiency (EE), suggesting that the presence of caffeic residues improved the compatibility between components (EEPLGA = 35.0% ± 0.7% vs.EEg-CA-PLGA = 95.6% ± 2.7%). Microspheres particle size distribution ranged from 15 to 50 µm. The zeta-potential values of placebo and loaded microspheres were −25 mV and −15 mV, respectively. The irradiation of g-CA-PLGA at the dose of 25 kGy caused a less than 1% variation of Mw and the degradation patterns of the non-irradiated and irradiated microspheres were superimposable. The OVA content in g-CA-PLGA microspheres decreased to a lower extent with respect to PLGA microspheres. These results suggest that g-CA-PLGA is a promising biodegradable material to microencapsulate biological drugs.
J. Funct. Biomater.2014, 5(4), 288-295; doi:10.3390/jfb5040288 - published 12 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: For many decades, Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) have been central in the development of resuscitation agents that might provide oxygen delivery in addition to simple volume expansion. Since 80% of the world population lives in areas where fresh blood products are not available, the application of these new solutions may prove to be highly beneficial (Kim and Greenburg 2006). Many improvements have been made to earlier generation HBOCs, but various concerns still remain, including coagulopathy, nitric oxide scavenging, platelet interference and decreased calcium concentration secondary to volume expansion (Jahr et al. 2013). This review will summarize the current challenges faced in developing HBOCs that may be used clinically, in order to guide future research efforts in the field.