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Special Issue "Advance of Polymers Applied to Biomedical Applications: Cell Scaffolds"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Insung S. Choi

Department of Chemistry, KAIST, 291 College Road, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34141, Korea
Website | E-Mail
Interests: cell-surface engineering; cell-material interfaces; biomimetic chemistry
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. João F. Mano

Department of Chemistry, CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +351 234 370 733
Fax: +351 253 510 909
Interests: biomaterials; tissue engineering; controlled delivery of bioactive molecules; natural-based biodegradable polymers; biomimetic and nano/micro-technology approaches

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cells in vivo sense and respond to signals from the outside environment (e.g., other cells and extracellular matrices) for their orchestrated behavior and function. The signals come in and out in various forms, including biochemical, electrochemical, structural, and mechanical signals. Since the pioneering work by Langer and Vacanti, in vitro mimicry of the juxtacrine interactions has been achieved mainly through the use of polymers in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. The polymers act as 3D or semi-3D scaffolds for cells, on which the cells grow and proliferate.

The primary function of polymeric scaffolds was initially structural, providing the physical sites for cell adhesion and growth in a 3D form. However, scientific and technological developments have advanced to enable the manipulation of cell behavior and function, ultimately controlling cell fate, by the use of polymers, including supramolecular hydrogels. For example, as a cell scaffold, mucin-mimetic synthetic diblock copolymers have the capacity to hold human pluripotent stem cells in the quiescent G0 state in vitro, while maintaining their viability and pluripotency; Polymeric surfaces with specific topographical and chemical features direct stem cell differentiation and spacial organization; Pericellular hydrogels inhibit only cancer cells by cancer cell-specific enzymatic reactions; Individual cells are coated with polymers, and 3D cellular aggregates are formed in a controlled manner by biospecific interactions; Enzymatic reactions are utilized for the in situ formation of polymeric sheaths on cells; Microfluidic fabrication is used for programmed cell immobilization in the polymer scaffolds; And polymer-based cell-surface engineering is used for controlling cellular activities at the single-cell level. Technological advances, such as the development of 3D bioprinting, also allow for the fabrication of cellular hybrid devices wtih high geometrical control of cell positioning, including hierarchically organized scaffolds and multicell-polymer structures.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to highlight the recent achievements in the use of polymers as cell scaffolds on a broad scale, not only limited to the use of polymers as cell-culture scaffolds, but also including polymer-based approaches for controlling interfacial interactions of cells in vitro.

Prof. Dr. Insung S. Choi
Prof. Dr. João F. Mano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • polymer scaffolds
  • biomaterials
  • cell-surface engineering
  • biodegradable polymers
  • hydrogels
  • biomimetic substrates

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Osteochondral Regeneration Induced by TGF-β Loaded Photo Cross-Linked Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogel Infiltrated in Fused Deposition-Manufactured Composite Scaffold of Hydroxyapatite and Poly (Ethylene Glycol)-Block-Poly(ε-Caprolactone)
Polymers 2017, 9(5), 182; doi:10.3390/polym9050182
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 11 May 2017 / Accepted: 14 May 2017 / Published: 20 May 2017
PDF Full-text (3268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this study was to report the fabrication of porous scaffolds with pre-designed internal pores using a fused deposition modeling (FDM) method. Polycaprolactone (PCL) is a suitable material for the FDM method due to the fact it can be melted and
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to report the fabrication of porous scaffolds with pre-designed internal pores using a fused deposition modeling (FDM) method. Polycaprolactone (PCL) is a suitable material for the FDM method due to the fact it can be melted and has adequate flexural modulus and strength to be formed into a filament. In our study, the filaments of methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(ε-caprolactone) having terminal groups of carboxylic acid were deposited layer by layer. Raw materials having a weight ratio of hydroxyapatite (HAp) to polymer of 1:2 was used for FDM. To promote cell adhesion, amino groups of the Arg-Gly-Asp(RGD) peptide were condensed with the carboxylic groups on the surface of the fabricated scaffold. Then the scaffold was infiltrated with hydrogel of glycidyl methacrylate hyaluronic acid loading with 10 ng/mL of TGF-β1 and photo cross-linked on the top of the scaffolds. Serious tests of mechanical and biological properties were performed in vitro. HAp was found to significantly increase the compressive strength of the porous scaffolds. Among three orientations of the filaments, the lay down pattern 0°/90° scaffolds exhibited the highest compressive strength. Fluorescent staining of the cytoskeleton found that the osteoblast-like cells and stem cells well spread on RGD-modified PEG-PCL film indicating a favorable surface for the proliferation of cells. An in vivo test was performed on rabbit knee. The histological sections indicated that the bone and cartilage defects produced in the knees were fully healed 12 weeks after the implantation of the TGF-β1 loaded hydrogel and scaffolds, and regenerated cartilage was hyaline cartilage as indicated by alcian blue and periodic acid-schiff double staining. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Calcium Silicate Improved Bioactivity and Mechanical Properties of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) Scaffolds
Polymers 2017, 9(5), 175; doi:10.3390/polym9050175
Received: 2 April 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2017 / Published: 14 May 2017
PDF Full-text (30659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The poor bioactivity and mechanical properties have restricted its biomedical application, although poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) had good biocompatibility and biodegradability. In this study, calcium silicate (CS) was incorporated into PHBV for improving its bioactivity and mechanical properties, and the porous PHBV/CS composite scaffolds were
[...] Read more.
The poor bioactivity and mechanical properties have restricted its biomedical application, although poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) had good biocompatibility and biodegradability. In this study, calcium silicate (CS) was incorporated into PHBV for improving its bioactivity and mechanical properties, and the porous PHBV/CS composite scaffolds were fabricated via selective laser sintering (SLS). Simulated body fluid (SBF) immersion tests indicated the composite scaffolds had good apatite-forming ability, which could be mainly attributed to the electrostatic attraction of negatively charged silanol groups derived from CS degradation to positively charged calcium ions in SBF. Moreover, the compressive properties of the composite scaffolds increased at first, and then decreased with increasing the CS content, which was ascribed to the fact that CS of a proper content could homogeneously disperse in PHBV matrix, while excessive CS would form continuous phase. The compressive strength and modulus of composite scaffolds with optimal CS content of 10 wt % were 3.55 MPa and 36.54 MPa, respectively, which were increased by 41.43% and 28.61%, respectively, as compared with PHBV scaffolds. Additionally, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay indicated MG63 cells had a higher proliferation rate on PHBV/CS composite scaffolds than that on PHBV. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining assay demonstrated the incorporation of CS significantly promoted osteogenic differentiation of MG63 cells on the scaffolds. These results suggest that the PHBV/CS composite scaffolds have the potential in serving as a substitute in bone tissue engineering. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Artificial Spores: Immunoprotective Nanocoating of Red Blood Cells with Supramolecular Ferric Ion-Tannic Acid Complex
Polymers 2017, 9(4), 140; doi:10.3390/polym9040140
Received: 20 March 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
PDF Full-text (1916 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The blood-type-mismatch problem, in addition to shortage of blood donation, in blood transfusion has prompted the researchers to develop universal blood that does not require blood typing. In this work, the “cell-in-shell” (i.e., artificial spore) approach is utilized to shield the immune-provoking epitopes
[...] Read more.
The blood-type-mismatch problem, in addition to shortage of blood donation, in blood transfusion has prompted the researchers to develop universal blood that does not require blood typing. In this work, the “cell-in-shell” (i.e., artificial spore) approach is utilized to shield the immune-provoking epitopes on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). Individual RBCs are successfully coated with supramolecular metal-organic coordination complex of ferric ion (FeIII) and tannic acid (TA). The use of isotonic saline (0.85% NaCl) is found to be critical in the formation of stable, reasonably thick (20 nm) shells on RBCs without any aggregation and hemolysis. The formed “RBC-in-shell” structures maintain their original shapes, and effectively attenuate the antibody-mediated agglutination. Moreover, the oxygen-carrying capability of RBCs is not deteriorated after shell formation. This work suggests a simple but fast method for generating immune-camouflaged RBCs, which would contribute to the development of universal blood. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cell Proliferation on Polyethylene Terephthalate Treated in Plasma Created in SO2/O2 Mixtures
Polymers 2017, 9(3), 82; doi:10.3390/polym9030082
Received: 3 January 2017 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 25 February 2017
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Abstract
Samples of polymer polyethylene terephthalate were exposed to a weakly ionized gaseous plasma to modify the polymer surface properties for better cell cultivation. The gases used for treatment were sulfur dioxide and oxygen of various partial pressures. Plasma was created by an electrodeless
[...] Read more.
Samples of polymer polyethylene terephthalate were exposed to a weakly ionized gaseous plasma to modify the polymer surface properties for better cell cultivation. The gases used for treatment were sulfur dioxide and oxygen of various partial pressures. Plasma was created by an electrodeless radio frequency discharge at a total pressure of 60 Pa. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed weak functionalization of the samples’ surfaces with the sulfur, with a concentration around 2.5 at %, whereas the oxygen concentration remained at the level of untreated samples, except when the gas mixture with oxygen concentration above 90% was used. Atomic force microscopy revealed highly altered morphology of plasma-treated samples; however, at high oxygen partial pressures this morphology vanished. The samples were then incubated with human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Biological tests to determine endothelialization and possible toxicity of the plasma-treated polyethylene terephthalate samples were performed. Cell metabolic activity (MTT) and in vitro toxic effects of unknown compounds (TOX) were assayed to determine the biocompatibility of the treated substrates. The biocompatibility demonstrated a well-pronounced maximum versus gas composition which correlated well with development of the surface morphology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Biodegradable Microneedle Cuff for Comparison of Drug Effects through Perivascular Delivery to Balloon-Injured Arteries
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 56; doi:10.3390/polym9020056
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
PDF Full-text (9234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Restenosis at a vascular anastomosis site is a major cause of graft failure and is difficult to prevent by conventional treatment. Perivascular drug delivery has advantages as drugs can be diffused to tunica media and subintima while minimizing the direct effect on endothelium.
[...] Read more.
Restenosis at a vascular anastomosis site is a major cause of graft failure and is difficult to prevent by conventional treatment. Perivascular drug delivery has advantages as drugs can be diffused to tunica media and subintima while minimizing the direct effect on endothelium. This in vivo study investigated the comparative effectiveness of paclitaxel, sirolimus, and sunitinib using a perivascular biodegradable microneedle cuff. A total of 31 New Zealand white rabbits were used. Rhodamine was used to visualize drug distribution (n = 3). Sirolimus- (n = 7), sunitinib- (n = 7), and paclitaxel-loaded (n = 7) microneedle cuffs were placed at balloon-injured abdominal aortae and compared to drug-free cuffs (n = 7). Basic histological structures were not affected by microneedle devices, and vascular wall thickness of the device-only group was similar to that of normal artery. Quantitative analysis revealed significantly decreased neointima formation in all drug-treated groups (p < 0.001). However, the tunica media layer of the paclitaxel-treated group was significantly thinner than that of other groups and also showed the highest apoptotic ratio (p < 0.001). Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive cells were significantly reduced in all drug-treated groups. Sirolimus or sunitinib appeared to be more appropriate for microneedle devices capable of slow drug release because vascular wall thickness was minimally affected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Microsphere-Based Hierarchically Juxtapositioned Biphasic Scaffolds Prepared from Poly(Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid) and Nanohydroxyapatite for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering
Polymers 2016, 8(12), 429; doi:10.3390/polym8120429
Received: 12 October 2016 / Revised: 18 November 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 10 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (32992 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aims to prepare biphasic osteochondral scaffolds based on seamless joining of sintered polymer and polymer/ceramic microspheres for co-culture of chondrocytes and bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs). Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microspheres and 10% nanohydroxyapatite (nHAP)-incorporated PLGA (PGA/nHAP) microspheres were prepared through
[...] Read more.
This study aims to prepare biphasic osteochondral scaffolds based on seamless joining of sintered polymer and polymer/ceramic microspheres for co-culture of chondrocytes and bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs). Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microspheres and 10% nanohydroxyapatite (nHAP)-incorporated PLGA (PGA/nHAP) microspheres were prepared through the oil-in-water precipitation method. Virgin (V) and composite (C) scaffolds were prepared from 250–500 µm PLGA and PLGA/nHAP microspheres, respectively, while osteochondral (OC) scaffolds were fabricated through the combination of V and C scaffolds. Physico-chemical properties of scaffolds were characterized through microscopic-spectroscopic evaluations. The effect of nHAP in scaffolds was investigated through thermogravimetric analysis and mechanical testing, while surface hydrophobicity was tested through contact angle measurements. Rabbit chondrocytes and BMSCs were used for cell culture, and cell morphology and proliferation were determined from SEM and DNA assays. Alizarin red and Alcian blue stains were used to identify the in vitro bone and cartilage tissue-specific regeneration, while cetylpyridinium chloride was used to quantitatively estimate calcium in mineralized bone. For co-culture in OC scaffolds, BMSCs were first seeded in the bone part of the scaffold and cultured in osteogenic medium, followed by seeding chondrocytes in the cartilage part, and cultured in chondrocyte medium. High cell viability was confirmed from the Live/Dead assays. Actin cytoskeleton organization obtained by DAPI-phalloidin staining revealed proper organization of chondrocytes and BMSCs in OC scaffolds. Immunofluorescent staining of bone (type I collagen and osteocalcin (OCN)) and cartilage marker proteins (type II collagen (COL II)) confirmed cellular behavior of osteoblasts and chondrocytes in vitro. Using an ectopic osteochondral defect model by subcutaneous implantation of co-cultured OC scaffolds in nude mice confirmed cell proliferation and tissue development from gross view and SEM observation. IF staining of OCN and COL II in the bone and cartilage parts of OC scaffolds and tissue-specific histological analysis exhibited a time-dependent tissue re-modeling and confirmed the potential application of the biphasic scaffold in osteochondral tissue engineering. Full article
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