Special Issue "Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rolando Barbucci

Interun. CRISMA Colle di val d'Elsa, Siena, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 00393286067748
Interests: synthesis of polysaccharide hydrogels; modification of metallic materials
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Andrea Atrei

Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Chimica e Farmacia, Università di Siena, Via A. Moro 2. 53100 Siena, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 0577 234371
Fax: +39 0577 234233
Interests: surface science; structure; properties and reactivity of solid surfaces; properties of nanostructured materials
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Marianna Uva

Interuniversity Research Centre for Advanced Medical Systems (CRISMA), Viale Matteotti 15, 53034 Colle di Val d'Elsa, Siena, Italy
E-Mail
Interests: polysaccharide hydrogels; nanoparticles

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 

Embedding inorganic, organic or biological nanoparticles in hydrogels allows one to prepare hybrid materials capable of responding to a variety of stimuli from the surrounding environment. Nanoparticles can be simply entrapped in hydrogels, prepared inside the hydrogels or functionalized to work as a crosslinker of polymer chains. Incorporation of nanoparticles into hydrogels modifies the swelling degree and the physicochemical and mechanical properties of the polymer network. In the case of magnetic nanoparticles, the application of static/alternating magnetic fields offers the possibility of addressing and remotely modulating drug release from hydrogels.

Prof. Dr. Rolando Barbucci
Dr. Andrea Atrei
Dr. Marianna Uva
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. 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

  • hydrogels
  • nanoparticles
  • polymers
  • hybrid materials
  • drug release
  • chemical, mechanical, biological properties

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Chitosan Microgels and Nanoparticles via Electrofluidodynamic Techniques for Biomedical Applications
Received: 16 November 2015 / Revised: 28 December 2015 / Accepted: 5 January 2016 / Published: 12 January 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1095 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Electrofluidodynamics techniques (EFDTs) are emerging methodologies based on liquid atomization induced by electrical forces to obtain a fine suspension of particles from hundreds of micrometers down to nanometer size. As a function of the characteristic size, these particles are interesting for a wide [...] Read more.
Electrofluidodynamics techniques (EFDTs) are emerging methodologies based on liquid atomization induced by electrical forces to obtain a fine suspension of particles from hundreds of micrometers down to nanometer size. As a function of the characteristic size, these particles are interesting for a wide variety of applications, due to the high scalability of chemical and physical properties in comparison to the bulk form. Here, we propose the optimization of EFDT techniques to design chitosan systems in the form of microgels or nanoparticles for several biomedical applications. Different microscopy techniques (Optical, SEM, TEM) have been used to investigate the morphology of chitosan systems at multiple size scale. The proposed study confirms the high versatility and feasibility of EFDTs for creating micro and nano-sized carriers for cells and drug species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Biosynthesis and Characterization of Cross-Linked Fmoc Peptide-Based Hydrogels for Drug Delivery Applications
Gels 2015, 1(2), 179-193; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels1020179
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 16 October 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, scientific and technological interest in the synthesis of novel peptide-based hydrogel materials have grown dramatically. Applications of such materials mostly concern the biomedical field with examples covering sectors such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, and production of scaffolds for cell growth, thanks [...] Read more.
Recently, scientific and technological interest in the synthesis of novel peptide-based hydrogel materials have grown dramatically. Applications of such materials mostly concern the biomedical field with examples covering sectors such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, and production of scaffolds for cell growth, thanks to their biocompatibility and biodegradability. In this work we synthesized Fmoc-Phe3 based hydrogels of different chirality by using a biocatalytic approach. Moreover, we investigated the possibility of employing a crosslinker during the biosynthetic process and we studied and compared some chemico-physical features of both crosslinked and non-crosslinked hydrogels. In particular, we investigated the rheological properties of such materials, as well as their swelling ability, stability in aqueous medium, and their structure by SEM and AFM analysis. Crosslinked and non-crosslinked hydrogels could be formed by this procedure with comparable yields but distinct chemico-physical features. We entrapped dexamethasone within nanopolymeric particles based on PLGA coated or not with chitosan and we embedded these nanoparticles into the hydrogels. Dexamethasone release from such a nanopolymer/hydrogel system was controlled and sustained and dependent on genipin crosslinking degree. The possibility of efficiently coupling a drug delivery system to hydrogel materials seem particularly promising for tissue engineering applications, where the hydrogel could provide cells the necessary support for their growth, while nanoparticles could favor cell growth or differentiation by providing them the necessary bioactive molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Composite Chitosan/Agarose Ferrogels for Potential Applications in Magnetic Hyperthermia
Gels 2015, 1(1), 69-80; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels1010069
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 12 June 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1391 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Composite ferrogels were obtained by encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles at two different concentrations (2.0 and 5.0 % w/v) within mixed agarose/chitosan hydrogels having different concentrations of agarose (1.0, 1.5 and 2.0% (w/v)) and a fixed concentration [...] Read more.
Composite ferrogels were obtained by encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles at two different concentrations (2.0 and 5.0 % w/v) within mixed agarose/chitosan hydrogels having different concentrations of agarose (1.0, 1.5 and 2.0% (w/v)) and a fixed concentration of chitosan (0.5% (w/v)). The morphological characterization carried out by scanning electron microscopy showed that dried composite ferrogels present pore sizes in the micrometer range. Thermogravimetric measurements showed that ferrogels present higher degradation temperatures than blank chitosan/agarose hydrogels without magnetic nanoparticles. In addition, measurements of the elastic moduli of the composite ferrogels evidenced that the presence of magnetic nanoparticles in the starting aqueous solutions prevents to some extent the agarose gelation achieved by simply cooling chitosan/agarose aqueous solutions. Finally, it is shown that composite chitosan/agarose ferrogels are able to heat in response to the application of an alternating magnetic field so that they can be considered as potential biomaterials to be employed in magnetic hyperthermia treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Functionalisation of Polysaccharides for the Purposes of Electrospinning: A Case Study Using HPMC and Si-HPMC
Gels 2015, 1(1), 44-57; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels1010044
Received: 9 April 2015 / Revised: 19 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
Hydrogels are a suitable scaffold material for a variety of tissue engineering applications. However, these materials have a weak structure and require reinforcement. Integrating electrospun fibers could strengthen material properties. This study created fibers and evaluated the influence of the presence of polar [...] Read more.
Hydrogels are a suitable scaffold material for a variety of tissue engineering applications. However, these materials have a weak structure and require reinforcement. Integrating electrospun fibers could strengthen material properties. This study created fibers and evaluated the influence of the presence of polar head groups within a polysaccharide backbone following functionalization: silated-hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (Si-HPMC). Electrospinning is a multi-parameter, step by step process that requires optimization of solution and process parameters to understand and control the process. Fibers were created for 2%–3% wt/v solutions in water and ethanol. Viscosities of solutions were correlated with spinnability. Variations on process parameters did not reveal major variation on fiber morphology. Once controlled, the process was used for HPMC/Si-HPMC mixture solutions. Solubilization and dilution of Si-HPMC were made with common solvents for electrospinning. Two forms of polymer conformation were electrospun: silanol ending and silanolate ending. Microstructures and resulting nanofibers were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive Analysis (EDX). The results show the feasibility of our strategy for creating nanofibers and the influence of polar head groups on electrospinnability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle On the Mechanism of Drug Release from Polysaccharide Hydrogels Cross-Linked with Magnetite Nanoparticles by Applying Alternating Magnetic Fields: the Case of DOXO Delivery
Gels 2015, 1(1), 24-43; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels1010024
Received: 16 March 2015 / Revised: 4 May 2015 / Accepted: 11 May 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The chemical, biological and physical properties of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) hydrogels with silanized magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) as cross-linker were investigated and compared with the analogous hydrogel obtained by using 1,3-diaminopropane (DAP) as cross-linker. The magnetic hydrogel was characterized from [...] Read more.
The chemical, biological and physical properties of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) hydrogels with silanized magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) as cross-linker were investigated and compared with the analogous hydrogel obtained by using 1,3-diaminopropane (DAP) as cross-linker. The magnetic hydrogel was characterized from the chemical point of view by FT-IR, whereas the morphology of the hydrogel was investigated by FESEM and STEM. The water uptake and rheological measurements reveal how much the swelling and mechanical properties change when CMC is cross-linked with silanized magnetite NPs instead of with DAP. As far as the biological properties, the hybrid hydrogel neither exerts any adverse effect nor any alteration on the cells. The magnetic hydrogels show magnetic hysteresis at 2.5 K as well as at 300 K. Magnetic measurements show that the saturation magnetization, remanent magnetization and coercive field of the NPs are not influenced significantly by the silanization treatment. The magnetic hydrogel was tested as controlled drug delivery system. The release of DOXO from the hydrogel is significantly enhanced by exposing it to an alternating magnetic field. Under our experimental conditions (2 mT and 40 kHz), no temperature increase of the hydrogel was measured, testifying that the mechanism for the enhancement of drug release under the AMF involves the twisting of the polymeric chains. A static magnetic field (0.5 T) does not influence the drug release from the hydrogel, compared with that without magnetic field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Nanoparticle-Integrated Hydrogels as Multifunctional Composite Materials for Biomedical Applications
Gels 2015, 1(2), 162-178; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels1020162
Received: 3 July 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 28 September 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review focuses on the most recent developments in the field of nanocomposite hydrogels intended for biomedical applications. Nanocomposite hydrogels are hydrated polymeric networks with a physically or covalently crosslinked three-dimensional (3D) structure swollen with water, in the presence of nanoparticles or nanostructures. [...] Read more.
This review focuses on the most recent developments in the field of nanocomposite hydrogels intended for biomedical applications. Nanocomposite hydrogels are hydrated polymeric networks with a physically or covalently crosslinked three-dimensional (3D) structure swollen with water, in the presence of nanoparticles or nanostructures. A wide array of nanomaterials (polymeric, carbon-based, metallic, ceramic) can be incorporated within the hydrogel network to obtain reinforced nanocomposite hydrogels. Nanocomposites represent a new class of materials with properties absent in the individual components. In particular, the incorporation of nanomaterials within a polymeric hydrogel network is an attractive approach to tailor the mechanical properties of the hydrogels and/or to provide the nanocomposite with responsiveness to external stimuli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessReview Magnetic Gel Composites for Hyperthermia Cancer Therapy
Gels 2015, 1(2), 135-161; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels1020135
Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 2 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (7995 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hyperthermia therapy is a medical treatment based on the exposition of body tissue to slightly higher temperatures than physiological (i.e., between 41 and 46 °C) to damage and kill cancer cells or to make them more susceptible to the effects of [...] Read more.
Hyperthermia therapy is a medical treatment based on the exposition of body tissue to slightly higher temperatures than physiological (i.e., between 41 and 46 °C) to damage and kill cancer cells or to make them more susceptible to the effects of radiation and anti-cancer drugs. Among several methods suitable for heating tumor areas, magnetic hyperthermia involves the introduction of magnetic micro/nanoparticles into the tumor tissue, followed by the application of an external magnetic field at fixed frequency and amplitude. A very interesting approach for magnetic hyperthermia is the use of biocompatible thermo-responsive magnetic gels made by the incorporation of the magnetic particles into cross-linked polymer gels. Mainly because of the hysteresis loss from the magnetic particles subjected to a magnetic field, the temperature of the system goes up and, once the temperature crosses the lower critical solution temperature, thermo-responsive gels undergo large volume changes and may deliver anti-cancer drug molecules that have been previously entrapped in their networks. This tutorial review describes the main properties and formulations of magnetic gel composites conceived for magnetic hyperthermia therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composites for Biomedical Applications)
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