Special Issue "Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications"

A special issue of Bioengineering (ISSN 2306-5354).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Battista Edmondo
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Guest Editor
1. CRIB (Interdisciplinary Research Center on Biomaterials) University of Naples "Federico II", P.le Tecchio 80, Naples, Italy
2. IIT @CRIB CABHC (Center for Advanced Biomaterials for HealthCare), l.go Barsanti e Matteucci, 53 80125 Naples, Italy
Interests: bioengineering; biomaterials; diagnostics; biomarkers; liquid biopsy
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Prof. Dr. Ibtisam E. Tothill
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Guest Editor
Surface Engineering and Nanotechnology Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
Interests: biomedical engineering; biosensors and diagnostics; drug discovery and development; food safety; nanomaterials; nanotechnology; smart materials
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Prof. Dr. Paolo Antonio Netti
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Guest Editor
Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Biomaterials (CRIB) and Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, dei Materiali e della Produzione Industriale (DICMAPI), University of Naples Federico II, Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Director of Center for Advanced Biomaterials for [email protected], Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Largo Barsanti e Matteucci 53, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Interests: biomedical engineering; biomaterials; tissue engineering; organ on chip; mechanotrasduction; biosensors and diagnostics; drug delivery; nanomedicine
Prof. Dr. Filippo Causa
Website
Guest Editor
Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Biomaterials (CRIB) and Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, dei Materiali e della Produzione Industriale (DICMAPI), University of Naples Federico II, Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Center for Advanced Biomaterials for [email protected], Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Largo Barsanti e Matteucci 53, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Interests: microfluidics; biosensors; lab-on-chip; bioassay; microgels and hydrogels; single-cell analysis; intracellular biosensors; machine learning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue is to review, evaluate and understand the complexity of materials as constituents of integrated devices for diagnosis, therapy, and advanced solutions in biomedical field.

Hydrogels, and especially nano and microgels, are assuming an increasingly important role in a variety of applications due to their unmet characteristics including hydrophilicity, biocompatibility, highly flexible chemical characteristics. The non-fouling nature, easy probe accessibility and target diffusion, the possibility of moieties inclusion within their structure, render hydrogels promising substrates for biomedical applications.

Microgels have already been successfully used in immunoassays, sensitive nucleic acid assays, and to enable hydrogel-based suspension arrays. Similarly, nano and microgels are widely used as carriers for therapeutics or contrast agents in drug-delivery and multi-imaging applications. Tissue engineering, as well, benefits of such class of materials to recapitulate functional organs.

This Special Issue will provide the opportunity to understand, analyze, evaluate and possibly address the challenges that these materials pose, highlighting the versatility and flexibility in the synthesis and in the functions with regard to the integration with miniaturized systems (i.e., microTAS, LOC, Tissue on a Chip) and imaging techniques to perform next generation applications.

We invite you to contribute with original research papers, as well as comprehensive reviews, aligned with these themes, to advance and improve the actual state-of-the-art in bioengineering, providing new opportunities, approaches and solutions to biological problems.

Dr. Battista Edmondo
Prof. Dr. Ibthisam Tothill
Prof. Dr. Paolo Antonio Netti
Prof. Dr. Filippo Causa
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. Bioengineering is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1000 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

  • Liquid Biopsy
  • Bead-based suspension assays
  • Molecularly Imprinted Polymers
  • Oligonucleotide detection
  • microTAS, LOC and TOC
  • Diagnostic assays
  • Nanomedicine
  • Theranostics
  • Tissue Engineering

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Radio-Fluorogenic Gel Dosimetry with Coumarin
Bioengineering 2018, 5(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5030053 - 10 Jul 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Gel dosimeters are attractive detectors for radiation therapy, with properties similar to biological tissue and the potential to visualize volumetric dose distributions. Radio-fluorogenesis is the yield of fluorescent chemical products in response to energy deposition from ionizing radiation. This report shares the development [...] Read more.
Gel dosimeters are attractive detectors for radiation therapy, with properties similar to biological tissue and the potential to visualize volumetric dose distributions. Radio-fluorogenesis is the yield of fluorescent chemical products in response to energy deposition from ionizing radiation. This report shares the development of a novel radio-fluorogenic gel (RFG) dosimeter, gelatin infused with coumarin-3-carboxlyic acid (C3CA), for the quantification of imparted energy. Aqueous solutions exposed to ionizing radiation result in the production of hydroxyl free radicals through water radiolysis. Interactions between hydroxyl free radicals and coumarin-3-carboxylic acid produce a fluorescent product. 7-hydroxy-coumarin-3-carboxylic acid has a blue (445 nm) emission following ultra-violet (UV) to near UV (365–405 nm) excitation. Effects of C3CA concentration and pH buffers were investigated. The response of the RFG was explored with respect to strength, type, and exposure rate of high-energy radiation. Results show a linear dose response relationship independent of energy and type, with a dose-rate dependency. This report demonstrates increased photo-yield with high pH and the utility of gelatin-RFG for phantom studies of radiation dosimetry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Generation of Gellan Gum-Based Adipose-Like Microtissues
Bioengineering 2018, 5(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5030052 - 27 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Adipose tissue is involved in many physiological processes. Therefore, the need for adipose tissue-like analogues either for soft tissue reconstruction or as in vitro testing platforms is undeniable. In this work, we explored the natural features of gellan gum (GG) to recreate injectable [...] Read more.
Adipose tissue is involved in many physiological processes. Therefore, the need for adipose tissue-like analogues either for soft tissue reconstruction or as in vitro testing platforms is undeniable. In this work, we explored the natural features of gellan gum (GG) to recreate injectable stable adipose-like microtissues. GG hydrogel particles with different percentages of polymer (0.5%, 0.75%, 1.25%) were developed and the effect of obtained mechanical properties over the ability of hASCs to differentiate towards the adipogenic lineage was evaluated based on the expression of the early (PPARγ) and late (FABP4) adipogenic markers, and on lipids formation and accumulation. Constructs were cultured in adipogenic induction medium up to 21 days or for six days in induction plus nine days in maintenance media. Overall, no significant differences were observed in terms of hASCs adipogenic differentiation within the range of Young’s moduli between 2.7 and 12.9 kPa. The long-term (up to six weeks) stability of the developed constructs supported its application in soft tissue reconstruction. Moreover, their ability to function as adipose-like microtissue models for drug screening was demonstrated by confirming its sensitivity to TNFα and ROCK inhibitor, respectively involved in the repression and induction of the adipogenic differentiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Methylcellulose Molecular Weight on the Properties of Self-Assembling MC-g-PNtBAm Nanogels
Bioengineering 2018, 5(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5020039 - 23 May 2018
Abstract
The efficiency of drug delivery to the eye using topical drop therapy is limited by the ocular clearance mechanisms. Nanocarriers, able to encapsulate bioactive compounds and slow down their release, may allow for prolonged on-eye residence times when combined with topical application for [...] Read more.
The efficiency of drug delivery to the eye using topical drop therapy is limited by the ocular clearance mechanisms. Nanocarriers, able to encapsulate bioactive compounds and slow down their release, may allow for prolonged on-eye residence times when combined with topical application for treatment of ocular conditions. Previously, self-assemblies of methylcellulose (MC) hydrophobized with N-tert-butylacrylamide side chains (MC-g-PNtBAm) were developed. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the impact of the methylcellulose backbone length on the properties of the nanogels. We synthesized MC-g-PNtBAm nanogels using four different molecular weights of MC with two degrees of hydrophobic modification and investigated the physical and chemical properties of the resulting polymeric nanogels. While no significant change could be observed at a high degree of hydrophobization, properties were affected at a lower one. Increasing the molecular weight of MC improved the swelling capacity of the nanogels, increasing their size in water. An effect on the drug release was also noted. Nanogels prepared using MC with a molecular weight of 30 kDa did not retain as much dexamethasone and released it faster compared to those prepared using 230 kDa MC. Thus, besides the degree of hydrophobization, the length of MC chains provides another means of tuning the properties of MC-g-PNtBAm nanogels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Delivery of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Gelatin–Alginate Hydrogels to Stomach Lumen for Treatment of Gastroparesis
Bioengineering 2018, 5(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5010012 - 07 Feb 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Gastroparesis (GP) is associated with depletion of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) and enteric neurons, which leads to pyloric dysfunction followed by severe nausea, vomiting and delayed gastric emptying. Regenerating these fundamental structures with mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy would be helpful to [...] Read more.
Gastroparesis (GP) is associated with depletion of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) and enteric neurons, which leads to pyloric dysfunction followed by severe nausea, vomiting and delayed gastric emptying. Regenerating these fundamental structures with mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy would be helpful to restore gastric function in GP. MSCs have been successfully used in animal models of other gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, including colitis. However, no study has been performed with these cells on GP animals. In this study, we explored whether mouse MSCs can be delivered from a hydrogel scaffold to the luminal surfaces of mice stomach explants. Mouse MSCs were seeded atop alginate–gelatin, coated with poly-l-lysine. These cell–gel constructs were placed atop stomach explants facing the luminal side. MSCs grew uniformly all across the gel surface within 48 h. When placed atop the lumen of the stomach, MSCs migrated from the gels to the tissues, as confirmed by positive staining with vimentin and N-cadherin. Thus, the feasibility of transplanting a cell–gel construct to deliver stem cells in the stomach wall was successfully shown in a mice stomach explant model, thereby making a significant advance towards envisioning the transplantation of an entire tissue-engineered ‘gastric patch’ or ‘microgels’ with cells and growth factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Engineered 3D Polymer and Hydrogel Microenvironments for Cell Culture Applications
Bioengineering 2019, 6(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering6040113 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The realization of biomimetic microenvironments for cell biology applications such as organ-on-chip, in vitro drug screening, and tissue engineering is one of the most fascinating research areas in the field of bioengineering. The continuous evolution of additive manufacturing techniques provides the tools to [...] Read more.
The realization of biomimetic microenvironments for cell biology applications such as organ-on-chip, in vitro drug screening, and tissue engineering is one of the most fascinating research areas in the field of bioengineering. The continuous evolution of additive manufacturing techniques provides the tools to engineer these architectures at different scales. Moreover, it is now possible to tailor their biomechanical and topological properties while taking inspiration from the characteristics of the extracellular matrix, the three-dimensional scaffold in which cells proliferate, migrate, and differentiate. In such context, there is therefore a continuous quest for synthetic and nature-derived composite materials that must hold biocompatible, biodegradable, bioactive features and also be compatible with the envisioned fabrication strategy. The structure of the current review is intended to provide to both micro-engineers and cell biologists a comparative overview of the characteristics, advantages, and drawbacks of the major 3D printing techniques, the most promising biomaterials candidates, and the trade-offs that must be considered in order to replicate the properties of natural microenvironments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
Open AccessReview
Structures and Applications of Thermoresponsive Hydrogels and Nanocomposite-Hydrogels Based on Copolymers with Poly (Ethylene Glycol) and Poly (Lactide-Co-Glycolide) Blocks
Bioengineering 2019, 6(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering6040107 - 21 Nov 2019
Abstract
Thermoresponsive hydrogels showing biocompatibility and degradability have been under intense investigation for biomedical applications, especially hydrogels composed of hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and hydrophobic poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) as first-line materials. Even though various aspects such as gelation behavior, degradation behavior, [...] Read more.
Thermoresponsive hydrogels showing biocompatibility and degradability have been under intense investigation for biomedical applications, especially hydrogels composed of hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and hydrophobic poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) as first-line materials. Even though various aspects such as gelation behavior, degradation behavior, drug-release behavior, and composition effect have been studied for 20 years since the first report of these hydrogels, there are still many outputs on parameters affecting their gelation, structure, and application. In this review, the current trends of research on linear block copolymers composed of PEG and PLGA during the last 5 years (2014–2019) are summarized. In detail, this review stresses newly found parameters affecting thermoresponsive gelation, findings from structural analysis by simulation, small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), etc., progress in biomedical applications including drug delivery systems and regeneration medicine, and nanocomposites composed of block copolymers with PEG and PLGA and nanomaterials (laponite). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessReview
Sources of Collagen for Biomaterials in Skin Wound Healing
Bioengineering 2019, 6(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering6030056 - 30 Jun 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Collagen is the most frequently used protein in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Within the skin, collagen type I and III are the most abundant, while collagen type VII is associated with pathologies of the dermal–epidermal junction. The focus of this [...] Read more.
Collagen is the most frequently used protein in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Within the skin, collagen type I and III are the most abundant, while collagen type VII is associated with pathologies of the dermal–epidermal junction. The focus of this review is mainly collagens I and III, with a brief overview of collagen VII. Currently, the majority of collagen is extracted from animal sources; however, animal-derived collagen has a number of shortcomings, including immunogenicity, batch-to-batch variation, and pathogenic contamination. Recombinant collagen is a potential solution to the aforementioned issues, although production of correctly post-translationally modified recombinant human collagen has not yet been performed at industrial scale. This review provides an overview of current collagen sources, associated shortcomings, and potential resolutions. Recombinant expression systems are discussed, as well as the issues associated with each method of expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioengineering Nano and Micro-Gels for Biomedical Applications)
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