Special Issue "Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications 2.0"

A special issue of Gels (ISSN 2310-2861).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 February 2022) | Viewed by 5575

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Bruce P. Lee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Engineering Michigan Technological University 309 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931, USA
Interests: biomimetic materials; antimicrobial polymers; tissue adhesives; biointerface; smart materials
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on “Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications” is dedicated to recent developments in the design, synthesis, characterization, and medical application of tough hydrogels.

Although hydrogels are widely used in various biomedical applications, conventional hydrogels are fragile and unsuitable for most load-bearing applications. Fracture energies of hydrogels are several orders of magnitude lower than those of connective tissues, which routinely experience physiological loads that are significantly higher than the failure strengths of hydrogels. Designing mechanically-tough hydrogels with exceptional recovery properties remains a keen scope of interest in the field. Recent strategies in designing tough hydrogels include interpenetrating and double-network hydrogels, nanocomposite hydrogels, topological or ring-sliding gels, tetra-arm hydrogels, and hydrogels composed of various reversible and self-healing chemistries. Potential applications for tough hydrogels include tissue engineering scaffold, drug delivery, tissue regeneration, tissue adhesive, actuator, soft robotic component, and medical and electronic devices for interfacing biological systems.

Prof. Dr. Bruce P. Lee
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Gels 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 1600 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

  • synthesis and characterization of tough hydrogel
  • energy dissipation and recovery
  • structure-property relationship
  • biocompatibility
  • mechanical property
  • cross-linking chemistry
  • applications
  • modeling

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Injectable In Situ Gelling System for Sustained Nicotine Delivery as a Replacement Therapy for Smoking Cessation
Gels 2022, 8(2), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8020114 - 12 Feb 2022
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Abstract
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is widely used to limit the withdrawal symptoms associated with cigarette smoking cessation. However, the available NRT formulations are limited by their short release profiles, requiring frequent administrations along with local side effects. Thus, the objective of this study [...] Read more.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is widely used to limit the withdrawal symptoms associated with cigarette smoking cessation. However, the available NRT formulations are limited by their short release profiles, requiring frequent administrations along with local side effects. Thus, the objective of this study is to develop an NRT formulation that offers prolonged, sustained nicotine release. Thermoresponsive in situ gelling systems containing nicotine were prepared using poloxamer 407 (P407) and poloxamer 188 (P188). The system was optimized using a three-factor, two-level full factorial design (23). A formulation composed of P407 (20% w/w), P188 (5% w/w), and loaded with nicotine (0.5% w/w) exhibited sol-to-gel transition at a suitable temperature close to physiological temperature (30 °C). The rheological analysis demonstrated a Newtonian-like flow at room temperature, suggesting ease of administration via injection, and semisolid gel status at physiological temperature. The optimized formulation successfully sustained nicotine in vitro release over 5 days following single administration. The findings suggest that poloxamer based in situ gelling systems are promising platforms to sustain the release of nicotine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications 2.0)
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Review

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Review
Double-Network Tough Hydrogels: A Brief Review on Achievements and Challenges
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Gels 2022, 8(4), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040247 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1058
Abstract
This brief review attempts to summarize research advances in the mechanical toughness and structures of double-network (DN) hydrogels. The focus is to provide a critical and concise discussion on the toughening mechanisms, damage recoverability, stress relaxation, and biomedical applications of tough DN hydrogel [...] Read more.
This brief review attempts to summarize research advances in the mechanical toughness and structures of double-network (DN) hydrogels. The focus is to provide a critical and concise discussion on the toughening mechanisms, damage recoverability, stress relaxation, and biomedical applications of tough DN hydrogel systems. Both conventional DN hydrogel with two covalently cross-linked networks and novel DN systems consisting of physical and reversible cross-links are discussed and compared. Covalently cross-linked hydrogels are tough but damage-irreversible. Physically cross-linked hydrogels are damage-recoverable but exhibit mechanical instability, as reflected by stress relaxation tests. This remains one significant challenge to be addressed by future research studies to realize the load-sustaining applications proposed for tough hydrogels. With their special structure and superior mechanical properties, DN hydrogels have great potential for biomedical applications, and many DN systems are now fabricated with 3D printing techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications 2.0)
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Review
Drug Delivery Based on Stimuli-Responsive Injectable Hydrogels for Breast Cancer Therapy: A Review
Gels 2022, 8(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8010045 - 07 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1606
Abstract
Breast cancer is the most common and biggest health threat for women. There is an urgent need to develop novel breast cancer therapies to overcome the shortcomings of conventional surgery and chemotherapy, which include poor drug efficiency, damage to normal tissues, and increased [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the most common and biggest health threat for women. There is an urgent need to develop novel breast cancer therapies to overcome the shortcomings of conventional surgery and chemotherapy, which include poor drug efficiency, damage to normal tissues, and increased side effects. Drug delivery systems based on injectable hydrogels have recently gained remarkable attention, as they offer encouraging solutions for localized, targeted, and controlled drug release to the tumor site. Such systems have great potential for improving drug efficiency and reducing the side effects caused by long-term exposure to chemotherapy. The present review aims to provide a critical analysis of the latest developments in the application of drug delivery systems using stimuli-responsive injectable hydrogels for breast cancer treatment. The focus is on discussing how such hydrogel systems enhance treatment efficacy and incorporate multiple breast cancer therapies into one system, in response to multiple stimuli, including temperature, pH, photo-, magnetic field, and glutathione. The present work also features a brief outline of the recent progress in the use of tough hydrogels. As the breast undergoes significant physical stress and movement during sporting and daily activities, it is important for drug delivery hydrogels to have sufficient mechanical toughness to maintain structural integrity for a desired period of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications 2.0)
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Review
Electroactive Polymeric Composites to Mimic the Electromechanical Properties of Myocardium in Cardiac Tissue Repair
Gels 2021, 7(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels7020053 - 01 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
Due to the limited regenerative capabilities of cardiomyocytes, incidents of myocardial infarction can cause permanent damage to native myocardium through the formation of acellular, non-conductive scar tissue during wound repair. The generation of scar tissue in the myocardium compromises the biomechanical and electrical [...] Read more.
Due to the limited regenerative capabilities of cardiomyocytes, incidents of myocardial infarction can cause permanent damage to native myocardium through the formation of acellular, non-conductive scar tissue during wound repair. The generation of scar tissue in the myocardium compromises the biomechanical and electrical properties of the heart which can lead to further cardiac problems including heart failure. Currently, patients suffering from cardiac failure due to scarring undergo transplantation but limited donor availability and complications (i.e., rejection or infectious pathogens) exclude many individuals from successful transplant. Polymeric tissue engineering scaffolds provide an alternative approach to restore normal myocardium structure and function after damage by acting as a provisional matrix to support cell attachment, infiltration and stem cell delivery. However, issues associated with mechanical property mismatch and the limited electrical conductivity of these constructs when compared to native myocardium reduces their clinical applicability. Therefore, composite polymeric scaffolds with conductive reinforcement components (i.e., metal, carbon, or conductive polymers) provide tunable mechanical and electroactive properties to mimic the structure and function of natural myocardium in force transmission and electrical stimulation. This review summarizes recent advancements in the design, synthesis, and implementation of electroactive polymeric composites to better match the biomechanical and electrical properties of myocardial tissue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications 2.0)
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