Special Issue "Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Bruce P. Lee
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
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Weilue He
Website
Guest Editor
FM Wound Care LLC, Hancock, MI, USA
Interests: wound dressing; cell signaling transduction; polymer sciences; tissue engineering; regenerative medicine
Dr. Yuan Liu
Website
Guest Editor
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, USA
Interests: polymer materials; biomimetic materials; bio-inspired design; soft actuators; 3D-printing; bioengineering
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

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
Dr. Yuan Liu
Dr. Weilue He
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. 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) 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

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

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Physical Interactions Strengthen Chemical Gelatin Methacryloyl Gels
Gels 2019, 5(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels5010004 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Chemically cross-linkable gelatin methacryloyl (GM) derivatives are getting increasing attention regarding biomedical applications. Thus, thorough investigations are needed to achieve full understanding and control of the physico-chemical behavior of these promising biomaterials. We previously introduced gelatin methacryloyl acetyl (GMA) derivatives, which can be [...] Read more.
Chemically cross-linkable gelatin methacryloyl (GM) derivatives are getting increasing attention regarding biomedical applications. Thus, thorough investigations are needed to achieve full understanding and control of the physico-chemical behavior of these promising biomaterials. We previously introduced gelatin methacryloyl acetyl (GMA) derivatives, which can be used to control physical network formation (solution viscosity, sol-gel transition) independently from chemical cross-linking by variation of the methacryloyl-to-acetyl ratio. It is known that temperature dependent physical network formation significantly influences the mechanical properties of chemically cross-linked GM hydrogels. We investigated the temperature sensitivity of GM derivatives with different degrees of modification (GM2, GM10), or similar degrees of modification but different methacryloyl contents (GM10, GM2A8). Rheological analysis showed that the low modified GM2 forms strong physical gels upon cooling while GM10 and GM2A8 form soft or no gels. Yet, compression testing revealed that all photo cross-linked GM(A) hydrogels were stronger if cooling was applied during hydrogel preparation. We suggest that the hydrophobic methacryloyl and acetyl residues disturb triple helix formation with increasing degree of modification, but additionally form hydrophobic structures, which facilitate chemical cross-linking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Antibacterial Properties of Silver Nanoparticles Embedded on Polyelectrolyte Hydrogels Based on α-Amino Acid Residues
Gels 2018, 4(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels4020042 - 04 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Polyelectrolyte hydrogels bearing l-phenylalanine (PHE), l-valine (AVA), and l-histidine (Hist) residues were used as scaffolds for the formation of silver nanoparticles by reduction of Ag+ ions with NaBH4. The interaction with the metal ion allowed a prompt [...] Read more.
Polyelectrolyte hydrogels bearing l-phenylalanine (PHE), l-valine (AVA), and l-histidine (Hist) residues were used as scaffolds for the formation of silver nanoparticles by reduction of Ag+ ions with NaBH4. The interaction with the metal ion allowed a prompt collapse of the swollen hydrogel, due to the neutralization reaction of basic groups present on the polymer. The imidazole nitrogen of the hydrogel with Hist demonstrated greater complexing capacity with the Ag+ ion compared to the hydrogels with carboxyl groups. The subsequent reduction to metallic silver allowed for the restoration of the hydrogel’s degree of swelling to the starting value. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and spectroscopic analyses showed, respectively, a uniform distribution of the 15 nm spherical silver nanoparticles embedded on the hydrogel and peak optical properties around a wavelength of 400 nm due to the surface plasmonic effect. Unlike native hydrogels, the composite hydrogels containing silver nanoparticles showed good antibacterial activity as gram+/gram− bactericides, and higher antifungal activity against S. cerevisiae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Application of Composite Hydrogels to Control Physical Properties in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Gels 2018, 4(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels4020051 - 30 May 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The development of biomaterials for the restoration of the normal tissue structure–function relationship in pathological conditions as well as acute and chronic injury is an area of intense investigation. More recently, the use of tailored or composite hydrogels for tissue engineering and regenerative [...] Read more.
The development of biomaterials for the restoration of the normal tissue structure–function relationship in pathological conditions as well as acute and chronic injury is an area of intense investigation. More recently, the use of tailored or composite hydrogels for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine has sought to bridge the gap between natural tissues and applied biomaterials more clearly. By applying traditional concepts in engineering composites, these hydrogels represent hierarchical structured materials that translate more closely the key guiding principles required for improved recovery of tissue architecture and functional behavior, including physical, mass transport, and biological properties. For tissue-engineering scaffolds in general, and more specifically in composite hydrogel materials, each of these properties provide unique qualities that are essential for proper augmentation and repair following disease and injury. The broad focus of this review is on physical properties in particular, static and dynamic mechanical properties provided by composite hydrogel materials and their link to native tissue architecture and, ultimately, tissue-specific applications for composite hydrogels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Recent Developments in Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications
Gels 2018, 4(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels4020046 - 22 May 2018
Cited by 24
Abstract
A hydrogel is a three-dimensional polymer network with high water content and has been attractive for many biomedical applications due to its excellent biocompatibility. However, classic hydrogels are mechanically weak and unsuitable for most physiological load-bearing situations. Thus, the development of tough hydrogels [...] Read more.
A hydrogel is a three-dimensional polymer network with high water content and has been attractive for many biomedical applications due to its excellent biocompatibility. However, classic hydrogels are mechanically weak and unsuitable for most physiological load-bearing situations. Thus, the development of tough hydrogels used in the biomedical field becomes critical. This work reviews various strategies to fabricate tough hydrogels with the introduction of non-covalent bonds and the construction of stretchable polymer networks and interpenetrated networks, such as the so-called double-network hydrogel. Additionally, the design of tough hydrogels for tissue adhesive, tissue engineering, and soft actuators is reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications)
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