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Topical Collection "Feature Papers in Materials Science"

Editor

Prof. Dr. Marco d'Ischia
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cintia 4, I-80126 Naples, Italy
Interests: structure, synthesis, physicochemical properties, and reactivity of melanins; polydopamine and related bioinspired functional materials for underwater surface functionalization and hybrid nanostructures for bioelectronics and biomedical applications; design, antioxidant properties, and reactivity of bioactive phenolic and quinone compounds; free radical oxidations and nature-inspired redox-active systems for biomedical and technological applications; chemistry and physicochemical properties of natural or bioinspired heterocyclic compounds; bioorganic chemistry of organic sulphur and selenium compounds; model reactions and transformation pathways of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and derivatives of astrochemical relevance
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Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Topical Collection “Feature Papers in Materials Science” aims to collect high-quality research articles, short communications, and review articles in all the fields of materials with a focus on biological or molecular research. Since the aim of this Topical Collection is to illustrate, through selected works, frontier research in materials science, we encourage Editorial Board Members of the Materials Science Section of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences to contribute papers reflecting the latest progress in their research field or to invite relevant experts and colleagues to do so. Topics include, without being limited to:

  • Biomaterials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Structural Materials
  • Hierarchically Structured Materials
  • Functional/Sensor Materials
  • Advanced/Nuclear Materials
  • Polymers/Composites
  • Self-Assembly/Macromolecular Materials
  • Optoelectronic/Magnetic Materials
  • Soft Materials
  • Space Materials
  • Materials for Bioelectronics and Biointerfaces
  • Materiomics
  • Supramolecular Materials
  • Coordination Polymers

Prof. Dr. Marco D'Ischia
Collection Editor

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Published Papers (33 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020, 2019

Review
Possible Treatment of Myocardial Infarct Based on Tissue Engineering Using a Cellularized Solid Collagen Scaffold Functionalized with Arg-Glyc-Asp (RGD) Peptide
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(22), 12563; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222212563 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 251
Abstract
Currently, the clinical impact of cell therapy after a myocardial infarction (MI) is limited by low cell engraftment due to low cell retention, cell death in inflammatory and poor angiogenic infarcted areas, secondary migration. Cells interact with their microenvironment through integrin mechanoreceptors that [...] Read more.
Currently, the clinical impact of cell therapy after a myocardial infarction (MI) is limited by low cell engraftment due to low cell retention, cell death in inflammatory and poor angiogenic infarcted areas, secondary migration. Cells interact with their microenvironment through integrin mechanoreceptors that control their survival/apoptosis/differentiation/migration and proliferation. The association of cells with a three-dimensional material may be a way to improve interactions with their integrins, and thus outcomes, especially if preparations are epicardially applied. In this review, we will focus on the rationale for using collagen as a polymer backbone for tissue engineering of a contractile tissue. Contractilities are reported for natural but not synthetic polymers and for naturals only for: collagen/gelatin/decellularized-tissue/fibrin/Matrigel™ and for different material states: hydrogels/gels/solids. To achieve a thick/long-term contractile tissue and for cell transfer, solid porous compliant scaffolds are superior to hydrogels or gels. Classical methods to produce solid scaffolds: electrospinning/freeze-drying/3D-printing/solvent-casting and methods to reinforce and/or maintain scaffold properties by reticulations are reported. We also highlight the possibility of improving integrin interaction between cells and their associated collagen by its functionalizing with the RGD-peptide. Using a contractile patch that can be applied epicardially may be a way of improving ventricular remodeling and limiting secondary cell migration. Full article
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Article
Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Olea europaea Leaf Extract for Their Enhanced Antibacterial, Antioxidant, Cytotoxic and Biocompatibility Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(22), 12562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222212562 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Herein, we report the green synthesis of silver nanoparticles (OE-Ag NPs) by ecofriendly green processes using biological molecules of Olea europaea leaf extract. Green synthesized OE-Ag NPs were successfully characterized using different spectroscopic techniques. Antibacterial activity of OE-Ag NPs was assessed against four [...] Read more.
Herein, we report the green synthesis of silver nanoparticles (OE-Ag NPs) by ecofriendly green processes using biological molecules of Olea europaea leaf extract. Green synthesized OE-Ag NPs were successfully characterized using different spectroscopic techniques. Antibacterial activity of OE-Ag NPs was assessed against four different bacteriological strains using the dilution serial method. The cytotoxic potential was determined against MCF-7 carcinoma cells using MTT assay in terms of cell viability percentage. Antioxidant properties were evaluated in terms of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging. Biocompatibility was further examined by incubating the synthesized NPs with hMSC cells for 24 h. The results were demonstrated that synthesized OE-Ag NPs presented excellent log10 reduction in the growth of all the tested bacterial strains, which as statistically equivalent (p > 0.05) to the standard antibiotic drug. Moreover, they also demonstrated excellent cytotoxic efficacy against the MCF-7 carcinoma cells compared to plant lead extract and Com-Ag NPs. Green synthesized OE-Ag NPs appeared more biocompatible to hMSC and 293T cells compared to Com-Ag NPs. Excellent biological results of the OE-Ag NPs might be attributed to the synergetic effect of NPs’ properties and the adsorbed secondary metabolites of plant leaf extract. Hence, this study suggests that synthesized OE-Ag NPs can be a potential contender for their various biological and nutraceutical applications. Moreover, this study will open a new avenue to produce biocompatible nanoparticles with additional biological functionalities from the plants. Full article
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Review
Nanoparticles for Targeted Brain Drug Delivery: What Do We Know?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11654; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111654 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 388
Abstract
The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a barrier that separates the blood from the brain tissue and possesses unique characteristics that make the delivery of drugs to the brain a great challenge. To achieve this purpose, it is necessary to design strategies to allow [...] Read more.
The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a barrier that separates the blood from the brain tissue and possesses unique characteristics that make the delivery of drugs to the brain a great challenge. To achieve this purpose, it is necessary to design strategies to allow BBB passage, in order to reach the brain and target the desired anatomic region. The use of nanomedicine has great potential to overcome this problem, since one can modify nanoparticles with strategic molecules that can interact with the BBB and induce uptake through the brain endothelial cells and consequently reach the brain tissue. This review addresses the potential of nanomedicines to treat neurological diseases by using nanoparticles specially developed to cross the BBB. Full article
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Article
Tension Stimulation of Tenocytes in Aligned Hyaluronic Acid/Platelet-Rich Plasma-Polycaprolactone Core-Sheath Nanofiber Membrane Scaffold for Tendon Tissue Engineering
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(20), 11215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222011215 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 316
Abstract
To recreate the in vivo niche for tendon tissue engineering in vitro, the characteristics of tendon tissue underlines the use of biochemical and biophysical cues during tenocyte culture. Herein, we prepare core-sheath nanofibers with polycaprolactone (PCL) sheath for mechanical support and hyaluronic acid [...] Read more.
To recreate the in vivo niche for tendon tissue engineering in vitro, the characteristics of tendon tissue underlines the use of biochemical and biophysical cues during tenocyte culture. Herein, we prepare core-sheath nanofibers with polycaprolactone (PCL) sheath for mechanical support and hyaluronic acid (HA)/platelet-rich plasma (PRP) core for growth factor delivery. Three types of core-sheath nanofiber membrane scaffolds (CSNMS), consisting of random HA-PCL nanofibers (Random), random HA/PRP-PCL nanofibers (Random+) or aligned HA/PRP-PCL (Align+) nanofibers, were used to study response of rabbit tenocytes to biochemical (PRP) and biophysical (fiber alignment) stimulation. The core-sheath structures as well as other pertinent properties of CSNMS have been characterized, with Align+ showing the best mechanical properties. The unidirectional growth of tenocytes, as induced by aligned fiber topography, was confirmed from cell morphology and cytoskeleton expression. The combined effects of PRP and fiber alignment in Align+ CSNMS lead to enhanced cell proliferation rates, as well as upregulated gene expression and marker protein synthesis. Another biophysical cue on tenocytes was introduced by dynamic culture of tenocyte-seeded Align+ in a bioreactor with cyclic tension stimulation. Augmented by this biophysical beacon from mechanical loading, dynamic cell culture could shorten the time for tendon maturation in vitro, with improved cell proliferation rates and tenogenic phenotype maintenance, compared to static culture. Therefore, we successfully demonstrate how combined use of biochemical/topographical cues as well as mechanical stimulation could ameliorate cellular response of tenocytes in CSNMS, which can provide a functional in vitro environmental niche for tendon tissue engineering. Full article
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Article
Design of Gelatin-Capped Plasmonic-Diatomite Nanoparticles with Enhanced Galunisertib Loading Capacity for Drug Delivery Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(19), 10755; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910755 - 05 Oct 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Inorganic diatomite nanoparticles (DNPs) have gained increasing interest as drug delivery systems due to their porous structure, long half-life, thermal and chemical stability. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) provide DNPs with intriguing optical features that can be engineered and optimized for sensing and drug delivery [...] Read more.
Inorganic diatomite nanoparticles (DNPs) have gained increasing interest as drug delivery systems due to their porous structure, long half-life, thermal and chemical stability. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) provide DNPs with intriguing optical features that can be engineered and optimized for sensing and drug delivery applications. In this work, we combine DNPs with gelatin stabilized AuNPs for the development of an optical platform for Galunisertib delivery. To improve the DNP loading capacity, the hybrid platform is capped with gelatin shells of increasing thicknesses. Here, for the first time, full optical modeling of the hybrid system is proposed to monitor both the gelatin generation, degradation, and consequent Galunisertib release by simple spectroscopic measurements. Indeed, the shell thickness is optically estimated as a function of the polymer concentration by exploiting the localized surface plasmon resonance shifts of AuNPs. We simultaneously prove the enhancement of the drug loading capacity of DNPs and that the theoretical modeling represents an efficient predictive tool to design polymer-coated nanocarriers. Full article
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Communication
Engineering Efficient Self-Assembled Plasmonic Nanostructures by Configuring Metallic Nanoparticle’s Morphology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(19), 10595; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910595 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 481
Abstract
We reveal the significance of plasmonic nanoparticle’s (NP) shape and its surface morphology en route to an efficient self-assembled plasmonic nanoparticle cluster. A simplified model is simulated in the form of free-space dimer and trimer nanostructures (NPs in the shape of a sphere, [...] Read more.
We reveal the significance of plasmonic nanoparticle’s (NP) shape and its surface morphology en route to an efficient self-assembled plasmonic nanoparticle cluster. A simplified model is simulated in the form of free-space dimer and trimer nanostructures (NPs in the shape of a sphere, cube, and disk). A ~200% to ~125% rise in near-field strength (gap mode enhancement) is observed for spherical NPs in comparison with cubical NPs (from 2 nm to 8 nm gap sizes). Full-width three-quarter maximum reveals better broad-spectral optical performance in a range of ~100 nm (dimer) and ~170 nm (trimer) from spherical NPs as compared to a cube (~60 nm for dimer and trimer). These excellent properties for sphere-based nanostructures are merited from its dipole mode characteristics. Full article
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Review
State of the Art in the Antibacterial and Antiviral Applications of Carbon-Based Polymeric Nanocomposites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(19), 10511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910511 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 361
Abstract
The development of novel approaches to prevent bacterial infection is essential for enhancing everyday life. Carbon nanomaterials display exceptional optical, thermal, and mechanical properties combined with antibacterial ones, which make them suitable for diverse fields, including biomedical and food applications. Nonetheless, their practical [...] Read more.
The development of novel approaches to prevent bacterial infection is essential for enhancing everyday life. Carbon nanomaterials display exceptional optical, thermal, and mechanical properties combined with antibacterial ones, which make them suitable for diverse fields, including biomedical and food applications. Nonetheless, their practical applications as antimicrobial agents have not been fully explored yet, owing to their relatively poor dispersibility, expensiveness, and scalability changes. To solve these issues, they can be integrated within polymeric matrices, which also exhibit antimicrobial activity in some cases. This review describes the state of the art in the antibacterial applications of polymeric nanocomposites reinforced with 0D fullerenes, 1D carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and 2D graphene (G) and its derivatives such as graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO). Given that a large number of such nanocomposites are available, only the most illustrative examples are described, and their mechanisms of antimicrobial activity are discussed. Finally, some applications of these antimicrobial polymeric nanocomposites are reviewed. Full article
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Article
Air-Spun Silk-Based Micro-/Nanofibers and Thin Films for Drug Delivery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(17), 9588; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22179588 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Micro-/nanofibers have shown high promise as drug delivery vehicles due to their high porosity and surface-area-to-volume ratio. The current study utilizes air-spraying, a novel fiber fabrication technique, to create silk micro-/nanofibers without the need for a high voltage power source. Air-spraying was used [...] Read more.
Micro-/nanofibers have shown high promise as drug delivery vehicles due to their high porosity and surface-area-to-volume ratio. The current study utilizes air-spraying, a novel fiber fabrication technique, to create silk micro-/nanofibers without the need for a high voltage power source. Air-spraying was used to create silk fibrous mats embedded with several model drugs with high efficiency. In order to compare the effect of biomaterial geometry on the release of the model drugs, silk films were also created and characterized. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscope (SEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and a drug release study were performed on both fiber and film samples to study how the model drugs interact with the protein structure. FTIR analysis showed that while drugs could interact with the protein structure of porous silk fibers, they could not interact with the flat geometry of silk films. As a result, fibers could protect select model drugs from thermal degradation and slow their release from the fiber network with more control than the silk films. A trend was also revealed where hydrophobic drugs were better protected and had a slower release than hydrophilic drugs. The results suggest that the physical and chemical properties of drugs and protein-based biomaterials are important for creating drug delivery vehicles with tailored release profiles and that fibers provide better tunability than films do. Full article
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Article
Increasing Angiogenesis Factors in Hypoxic Diabetic Wound Conditions by siRNA Delivery: Additive Effect of LbL-Gold Nanocarriers and Desloratadine-Induced Lysosomal Escape
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(17), 9216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22179216 - 26 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 641
Abstract
Impaired wound healing in people with diabetes has multifactorial causes, with insufficient neovascularization being one of the most important. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) plays a central role in the hypoxia-induced response by activating angiogenesis factors. As its activity is under precise regulatory control of [...] Read more.
Impaired wound healing in people with diabetes has multifactorial causes, with insufficient neovascularization being one of the most important. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) plays a central role in the hypoxia-induced response by activating angiogenesis factors. As its activity is under precise regulatory control of prolyl-hydroxylase domain 2 (PHD-2), downregulation of PHD-2 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) could stabilize HIF-1α and, therefore, upregulate the expression of pro-angiogenic factors as well. Intracellular delivery of siRNA can be achieved with nanocarriers that must fulfill several requirements, including high stability, low toxicity, and high transfection efficiency. Here, we designed and compared the performance of layer-by-layer self-assembled siRNA-loaded gold nanoparticles with two different outer layers—Chitosan ([email protected]) and Poly L-arginine ([email protected]). Although both formulations have exactly the same core, we find that a PLA outer layer improves the endosomal escape of siRNA, and therefore, transfection efficiency, after endocytic uptake in NIH-3T3 cells. Furthermore, we found that endosomal escape of [email protected] could be improved further when cells were additionally treated with desloratadine, thus outperforming commercial reagents such as Lipofectamine® and jetPRIME®. [email protected] in combination with desloratadine was proven to induce PHD-2 silencing in fibroblasts, allowing upregulation of pro-angiogenic pathways. This finding in an in vitro context constitutes a first step towards improving diabetic wound healing with siRNA therapy. Full article
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Article
Injectable Thixotropic β–Cyclodextrin–Functionalized Hydrogels Based on Guanosine Quartet Assembly
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(17), 9179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22179179 - 25 Aug 2021
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Facile method for the preparation of β–cyclodextrin–functionalized hydrogels based on guanosine quartet assembly was described. A series of seven hydrogels were prepared by linking β–cyclodextrin molecules with guanosine moieties in different ratios through benzene–1,4–diboronic acid linker in the presence of potassium hydroxide. The [...] Read more.
Facile method for the preparation of β–cyclodextrin–functionalized hydrogels based on guanosine quartet assembly was described. A series of seven hydrogels were prepared by linking β–cyclodextrin molecules with guanosine moieties in different ratios through benzene–1,4–diboronic acid linker in the presence of potassium hydroxide. The potassium ions acted as a reticulation agent by forming guanosine quartets, leading to the formation of self–sustained transparent hydrogels. The ratios of the β–cyclodextrin and guanosine components have a significant effect on the internal structuration of the components and, correspondingly, on the mechanical properties of the final gels, offering a tunablity of the system by varying the components ratio. The insights into the hydrogels’ structuration were achieved by circular dichroism, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and X–ray diffraction. Rheological measurements revealed self–healing and thixotropic properties of all the investigated samples, which, in combination with available cyclodextrin cavities for active components loading, make them remarkable candidates for specific applications in biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. Moreover, all the prepared samples displayed selective antimicrobial properties against S. aureus in planktonic and biofilm phase, the activity also depending on the guanosine and cyclodextrin ratio within the hydrogel structure. Full article
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Article
Super-Toughened Fumed-Silica-Reinforced Thiol-Epoxy Composites Containing Epoxide-Terminated Polydimethylsiloxanes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 8097; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22158097 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 525
Abstract
In response to the demand for high-performance materials, epoxy thermosetting and its composites are widely used in various industries. However, their poor toughness, resulting from the high crosslinking density of the epoxy network, must be improved to expand their application to the manufacturing [...] Read more.
In response to the demand for high-performance materials, epoxy thermosetting and its composites are widely used in various industries. However, their poor toughness, resulting from the high crosslinking density of the epoxy network, must be improved to expand their application to the manufacturing of flexible products. In this study, ductile epoxy thermosetting was produced using thiol compounds with functionalities of 2 and 3 as curing agents. The mechanical properties of the epoxy were further enhanced by incorporating fumed silica into it. To increase the filler dispersion, epoxide-terminated polydimethylsiloxane was synthesized and used as a composite component. Thanks to the polysiloxane–silica interaction, the nanosilica was uniformly dispersed in the epoxy composites, and their mechanical properties improved with increasing fumed silica content up to 5 phr (parts per hundred parts of epoxy resin). The toughness and impact strength of the composite containing 5 phr nanosilica were 517 (±13) MJ/m3 and 69.8 (±1.3) KJ/m2, respectively. Full article
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Article
Layer by Layer Assembled Chitosan-Coated Gold Nanoparticles for Enhanced siRNA Delivery and Silencing
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22020831 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1236
Abstract
Delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) provides one of the most powerful strategies for downregulation of therapeutic targets. Despite the widely explored capabilities of this strategy, intracellular delivery is hindered by a lack of carriers that have high stability, low toxicity and high [...] Read more.
Delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) provides one of the most powerful strategies for downregulation of therapeutic targets. Despite the widely explored capabilities of this strategy, intracellular delivery is hindered by a lack of carriers that have high stability, low toxicity and high transfection efficiency. Here we propose a layer by layer (LBL) self-assembly method to fabricate chitosan-coated gold nanoparticles (CS-AuNPs) as a more stable and efficient siRNA delivery system. Direct reduction of HAuCl4 in the presence of chitosan led to the formation of positively charged CS-AuNPs, which were subsequently modified with a layer of siRNA cargo molecules and a final chitosan layer to protect the siRNA and to have a net positive charge for good interaction with cells. Cytotoxicity, uptake, and downregulation of enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (eGFP) in H1299-eGFP lung epithelial cells indicated that LBL-CS-AuNPs provided excellent protection of siRNA against enzymatic degradation, ensured good uptake in cells by endocytosis, facilitated endosomal escape of siRNA, and improved the overall silencing effect in comparison with commercial transfection reagents Lipofectamine and jetPEI®. Therefore, this work shows that LBL assembled CS-AuNPs are promising nanocarriers for enhanced intracellular siRNA delivery and silencing. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021, 2019

Review
The Body’s Cellular and Molecular Response to Protein-Coated Medical Device Implants: A Review Focused on Fibronectin and BMP Proteins
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8853; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21228853 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 798
Abstract
Recent years have seen a marked rise in implantation into the body of a great variety of devices: hip, knee, and shoulder replacements, pacemakers, meshes, glucose sensors, and many others. Cochlear and retinal implants are being developed to restore hearing and sight. After [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen a marked rise in implantation into the body of a great variety of devices: hip, knee, and shoulder replacements, pacemakers, meshes, glucose sensors, and many others. Cochlear and retinal implants are being developed to restore hearing and sight. After surgery to implant a device, adjacent cells interact with the implant and release molecular signals that result in attraction, infiltration of the tissue, and attachment to the implant of various cell types including monocytes, macrophages, and platelets. These cells release additional signaling molecules (chemokines and cytokines) that recruit tissue repair cells to the device site. Some implants fail and require additional revision surgery that is traumatic for the patient and expensive for the payer. This review examines the literature for evidence to support the possibility that fibronectins and BMPs could be coated on the implants as part of the manufacturing process so that the proteins could be released into the tissue surrounding the implant and improve the rate of successful implantation. Full article
Review
Targeted Stimuli-Responsive Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Bacterial Infection Treatment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8605; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21228605 - 15 Nov 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1251
Abstract
The rise of antibiotic resistance and the growing number of biofilm-related infections make bacterial infections a serious threat for global human health. Nanomedicine has entered into this scenario by bringing new alternatives to design and develop effective antimicrobial nanoweapons to fight against bacterial [...] Read more.
The rise of antibiotic resistance and the growing number of biofilm-related infections make bacterial infections a serious threat for global human health. Nanomedicine has entered into this scenario by bringing new alternatives to design and develop effective antimicrobial nanoweapons to fight against bacterial infection. Among them, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) exhibit unique characteristics that make them ideal nanocarriers to load, protect and transport antimicrobial cargoes to the target bacteria and/or biofilm, and release them in response to certain stimuli. The combination of infection-targeting and stimuli-responsive drug delivery capabilities aims to increase the specificity and efficacy of antimicrobial treatment and prevent undesirable side effects, becoming a ground-breaking alternative to conventional antibiotic treatments. This review focuses on the scientific advances developed to date in MSNs for infection-targeted stimuli-responsive antimicrobials delivery. The targeting strategies for specific recognition of bacteria are detailed. Moreover, the possibility of incorporating anti-biofilm agents with MSNs aimed at promoting biofilm penetrability is overviewed. Finally, a comprehensive description of the different scientific approaches for the design and development of smart MSNs able to release the antimicrobial payloads at the infection site in response to internal or external stimuli is provided. Full article
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Article
Light Energy Dose and Photosensitizer Concentration Are Determinants of Effective Photo-Killing against Caries-Related Biofilms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207612 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
Caries-related biofilms and associated complications are significant threats in dentistry, especially when biofilms grow over dental restorations. The inhibition of cariogenic biofilm associated with the onset of carious lesions is crucial for preventing disease recurrence after treatment. This in vitro study defined optimized [...] Read more.
Caries-related biofilms and associated complications are significant threats in dentistry, especially when biofilms grow over dental restorations. The inhibition of cariogenic biofilm associated with the onset of carious lesions is crucial for preventing disease recurrence after treatment. This in vitro study defined optimized parameters for using a photosensitizer, toluidine blue O (TBO), activated via a red light-emitting diode (LED)-based wireless device to control the growth of cariogenic biofilms. The effect of TBO concentrations (50, 100, 150, and 200 μg/mL) exposed to light or incubated in the dark was investigated in successive cytotoxicity assays. Then, a mature Streptococcus mutans biofilm model under sucrose challenge was treated with different TBO concentrations (50, 100, and 150 μg/mL), different light energy doses (36, 108, and 180 J/cm2), and different incubation times before irradiation (1, 3, and 5 min). The untreated biofilm, irradiation with no TBO, and TBO incubation with no activation represented the controls. After treatments, biofilms were analyzed via S. mutans colony-forming units (CFUs) and live/dead assay. The percentage of cell viability was within the normal range compared to the control when 50 and 100 μg/mL of TBO were used. Increasing the TBO concentration and energy dose was associated with biofilm inhibition (p < 0.001), while increasing incubation time did not contribute to bacterial elimination (p > 0.05). Irradiating the S. mutans biofilm via 100 μg/mL of TBO and ≈180 J/cm2 energy dose resulted in ≈3-log reduction and a higher amount of dead/compromised S. mutans colonies in live/dead assay compared to the control (p < 0.001). The light energy dose and TBO concentration optimized the bacterial elimination of S. mutans biofilms. These results provide a perspective on the determining parameters for highly effective photo-killing of caries-related biofilms and display the limitations imposed by the toxicity of the antibacterial photodynamic therapy’s chemical components. Future studies should support investigations on new approaches to improve or overcome the constraints of opportunities offered by photodynamic inactivation of caries-related biofilms. Full article
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Article
Air-Jet Spun Corn Zein Nanofibers and Thin Films with Topical Drug for Medical Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5780; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165780 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 897
Abstract
Diabetic patients are especially susceptible to chronic wounds of the skin, which can lead to serious complications. Sodium citrate is one potential therapeutic molecule for the topical treatment of diabetic ulcers, but its viability requires the assistance of a biomaterial matrix. In this [...] Read more.
Diabetic patients are especially susceptible to chronic wounds of the skin, which can lead to serious complications. Sodium citrate is one potential therapeutic molecule for the topical treatment of diabetic ulcers, but its viability requires the assistance of a biomaterial matrix. In this study, nanofibers and thin films fabricated from natural corn zein protein are explored as a drug delivery vehicle for the topical drug delivery of sodium citrate. Corn zein is cheap and abundant in nature, and easily extracted with high purity, while nanofibers are frequently cited as ideal drug carriers due to their high surface area and high porosity. To further reduce costs, the 1-D nanofibers in this study were fabricated through an air jet-spinning method rather than the conventional electrospinning method. Thin films were also created as a comparative 2-D material. Corn zein composite nanofibers and thin films with different concentration of sodium citrate (1–30%) were analyzed through FTIR, DSC, TGA, and SEM. Results reveal that nanofibers are a much more effective vehicle than films, with the ability to interact with sodium citrate. Thermal analysis results show a stable material with low degradation, while FTIR reveals strong control over the protein secondary structures and hold of citrate. These tunable properties and morphologies allow the fibers to provide a sustained release of citrate and then revert to their structure prior to citrate loading. A statistical analysis via t-test confirmed a significant difference between fiber and film drug release. A biocompatibility study also confirms that cells are much more tolerant of the porous nanofiber structure than the nonporous protein films, and lower percentages of sodium citrate (1–5%) were outperformed to higher percentages (15–30%). This study demonstrated that protein-based nanofiber materials have high potential as vehicles for the delivery of topical diabetic drugs. Full article
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Article
A Clean and Tunable Mussel-Inspired Coating Technology by Enzymatic Deposition of Pseudo-Polydopamine (ψ-PDA) Thin Films from Tyramine
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(14), 4873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21144873 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 882
Abstract
The tyrosinase-catalyzed oxidation of tyramine, leading to the deposition of pseudo-polydopamine (ψ-PDA) thin films, is disclosed herein as a superior technology for surface functionalization and coating at a neutral pH and at a low substrate concentration, compared to the standard autoxidative PDA coating [...] Read more.
The tyrosinase-catalyzed oxidation of tyramine, leading to the deposition of pseudo-polydopamine (ψ-PDA) thin films, is disclosed herein as a superior technology for surface functionalization and coating at a neutral pH and at a low substrate concentration, compared to the standard autoxidative PDA coating protocols. Smooth ψ-PDA thin films of variable thickness up to 87 nm were obtained from 1 mM tyramine by varying tyrosinase concentrations (5–100 U/mL). Compared to the PDA films obtained by the similar enzymatic oxidation of 1 mM dopamine with tyrosinase (T-PDA), ψ-PDA displayed slower deposition kinetics, lower water contact angles in the range of 11°–28°, denoting higher hydrophilicity but similar UV-vis absorption profiles, as well as electrochemical properties and antioxidant activity. MALDI-MS analysis indicated for ψ-PDA a well defined pattern of peaks compatible with dopamine tetrameric structures degraded to a variable extent. The exposure to a tyramine solution of tyrosinase-loaded alginate spheres, or films deposited on glass or polyethylene, resulted in a rapid gel-confined ψ-PDA formation with no leakage or darkening of the solution, allowing the complete recovery and re-utilization of the unreacted tyramine. In contrast, an abundant PDA precipitation outside the gel was observed with dopamine under the same conditions. The ψ-PDA deposition by tyrosinase-catalyzed tyramine oxidation is thus proposed as a controllable and low-waste technology for selective surface functionalization and coating or for clean eumelanin particle production. Full article
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Review
Stimuli-Responsive Materials for Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(13), 4724; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21134724 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1687
Abstract
Smart or stimuli-responsive materials are an emerging class of materials used for tissue engineering and drug delivery. A variety of stimuli (including temperature, pH, redox-state, light, and magnet fields) are being investigated for their potential to change a material’s properties, interactions, structure, and/or [...] Read more.
Smart or stimuli-responsive materials are an emerging class of materials used for tissue engineering and drug delivery. A variety of stimuli (including temperature, pH, redox-state, light, and magnet fields) are being investigated for their potential to change a material’s properties, interactions, structure, and/or dimensions. The specificity of stimuli response, and ability to respond to endogenous cues inherently present in living systems provide possibilities to develop novel tissue engineering and drug delivery strategies (for example materials composed of stimuli responsive polymers that self-assemble or undergo phase transitions or morphology transformations). Herein, smart materials as controlled drug release vehicles for tissue engineering are described, highlighting their potential for the delivery of precise quantities of drugs at specific locations and times promoting the controlled repair or remodeling of tissues. Full article
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Article
Studies on the Mechanisms of Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Heparin- and Hyaluronan-Containing Multilayer Coatings—Targeting NF-κB Signalling Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(10), 3724; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21103724 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2228
Abstract
The use of implants can be hampered by chronic inflammatory reactions, which may result in failure of the implanted device. To prevent such an outcome, the present study examines the anti-inflammatory properties of surface coatings made of either hyaluronic acid (HA) or heparin [...] Read more.
The use of implants can be hampered by chronic inflammatory reactions, which may result in failure of the implanted device. To prevent such an outcome, the present study examines the anti-inflammatory properties of surface coatings made of either hyaluronic acid (HA) or heparin (Hep) in combination with chitosan (Chi) prepared as multilayers through the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique. The properties of glycosaminoglycan (GAG)-modified surfaces were characterized in terms of surface topography, thickness and wettability. Results showed a higher thickness and hydrophilicity after multilayer formation compared to poly (ethylene imine) control samples. Moreover, multilayers containing either HA or Hep dampened the inflammatory response visible by reduced adhesion, formation of multinucleated giant cells (MNGCs) and IL-1β release, which was studied using THP-1 derived macrophages. Furthermore, investigations regarding the mechanism of anti-inflammatory activity of GAG were focused on nuclear transcription factor-кB (NF-κB)-related signal transduction. Immunofluorescence staining of the p65 subunit of NF-κB and immunoblotting were performed that showed a significant decrease in NF-κB level in macrophages on GAG-based multilayers. Additionally, the association of FITC-labelled GAG was evaluated by confocal laser scanning microscopy and flow cytometry showing that macrophages were able to associate with and take up HA and Hep. Overall, the Hep-based multilayers demonstrated the most suppressive effect making this system most promising to control macrophage activation after implantation of medical devices. The results provide an insight on the anti-inflammatory effects of GAG not only based on their physicochemical properties, but also related to their mechanism of action toward NF-κB signal transduction. Full article
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Article
Fabrication of Mechanically Reinforced Gelatin/Hydroxyapatite Bio-Composite Scaffolds by Core/Shell Nozzle Printing for Bone Tissue Engineering
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3401; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093401 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1728
Abstract
In tissue engineering, biocompatible scaffolds are used as 3D cell niches to provide a similar environment to that of native tissue for seeded cells to regenerate the target tissue. When engineering bone tissue, high mechanical strength and calcium phosphate composition are essential factors [...] Read more.
In tissue engineering, biocompatible scaffolds are used as 3D cell niches to provide a similar environment to that of native tissue for seeded cells to regenerate the target tissue. When engineering bone tissue, high mechanical strength and calcium phosphate composition are essential factors to consider. In this study, we fabricated biocompatible composite scaffolds composed of synthetic polymers (polycaprolactone (PCL) and poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA)), natural polymers (gelatin and collagen) and bioceramic (hydroxyapatite; HA) for bone tissue engineering. The synthetic polymers were used to enhance the mechanical properties of the composite scaffolds while the natural protein-based polymers were used to enhance various cellular activities, such as cell adhesion and proliferation. Meanwhile, the bioceramic was introduced to promote osteogenic differentiation. Composite scaffolds were evaluated for their physical characteristics, such as mechanical, swelling and protein absorbing properties as well as biological properties (cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities and calcium deposition) with human osteoblast-like cells (MG63). Consequently, incorporation of hydroxyapatite into the gelatin/PVA (C-GPH) scaffold showed 5-fold and 1.5-fold increase in calcium deposition and ALP activities, respectively compared to gelatin/PVA scaffold (C-GP). Moreover, compressive modulus also increased 1.8-fold. Integration of PCL core into gelatin/PVA/hydroxyapatite scaffold (C-PGPH) further amplified the compressive modulus 1.5-fold. In conclusion, the scaffold that is reinforced with HA particles and integrated with PCL core of the struts showed significant potential in field of bone tissue engineering. Full article
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Article
Preparation of Peptide and Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator Conjugated Poly(Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid) (PLGA) Magnetic Nanoparticles for Dual Targeted Thrombolytic Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2690; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082690 - 13 Apr 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1332
Abstract
Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) is the only thrombolytic agent that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of ischemic stroke. However, a high dose intravenous infusion is required to maintain effective drug concentration, owing to the short half-life of the thrombolytic [...] Read more.
Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) is the only thrombolytic agent that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of ischemic stroke. However, a high dose intravenous infusion is required to maintain effective drug concentration, owing to the short half-life of the thrombolytic drug, whereas a momentous limitation is the risk of bleeding. We envision a dual targeted strategy for rtPA delivery will be feasible to minimize the required dose of rtPA for treatment. For this purpose, rtPA and fibrin-avid peptide were co-immobilized to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) magnetic nanoparticles (PMNP) to prepare peptide/rtPA conjugated PMNPs (pPMNP-rtPA). During preparation, PMNP was first surface modified with avidin, which could interact with biotin. This is followed by binding PMNP-avidin with biotin-PEG-rtPA (or biotin-PEG-peptide), which was prepared beforehand by binding rtPA (or peptide) to biotin-PEG-maleimide while using click chemistry between maleimide and the single –SH group in rtPA (or peptide). The physicochemical property characterization indicated the successful preparation of the magnetic nanoparticles with full retention of rtPA fibrinolysis activity, while biological response studies underlined the high biocompatibility of all magnetic nanoparticles from cytotoxicity and hemolysis assays in vitro. The magnetic guidance and fibrin binding effects were also confirmed, which led to a higher thrombolysis rate in vitro using PMNP-rtPA or pPMNP-rtPA when compared to free rtPA after static or dynamic incubation with blood clots. Using pressure-dependent clot lysis model in a flow system, dual targeted pPMNP-rtPA could reduce the clot lysis time for reperfusion by 40% when compared to free rtPA at the same drug dosage. From in vivo targeted thrombolysis in a rat embolic model, pPMNP-rtPA was used at 20% of free rtPA dosage to restore the iliac blood flow in vascular thrombus that was created by injecting a blood clot to the hind limb area. Full article
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Article
Surface Functionalization with Polyethylene Glycol and Polyethyleneimine Improves the Performance of Graphene-Based Materials for Safe and Efficient Intracellular Delivery by Laser-Induced Photoporation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041540 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1700
Abstract
Nanoparticle mediated laser-induced photoporation is a physical cell membrane disruption approach to directly deliver extrinsic molecules into living cells, which is particularly promising in applications for both adherent and suspension cells. In this work, we explored surface modifications of graphene quantum dots (GQD) [...] Read more.
Nanoparticle mediated laser-induced photoporation is a physical cell membrane disruption approach to directly deliver extrinsic molecules into living cells, which is particularly promising in applications for both adherent and suspension cells. In this work, we explored surface modifications of graphene quantum dots (GQD) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) to enhance colloidal stability while retaining photoporation functionality. After photoporation with FITC-dextran 10 kDa (FD10), the percentage of positive HeLa cells (81% for GQD-PEG, 74% for rGO-PEG and 90% for rGO-PEI) increased approximately two-fold compared to the bare nanomaterials. While for Jurkat suspension cells, the photoporation efficiency with polymer-modified graphene-based nanomaterial reached as high as 80%. Cell viability was >80% in all these cases. In addition, polymer functionalization proved to be beneficial for the delivery of larger macromolecules (FD70 and FD500) as well. Finally, we show that rGO is suitable for photoporation using a near-infrared laser to reach 80% FD10 positive HeLa cells at 80% cell viability. We conclude that modification of graphene-based nanoparticles with PEG and especially PEI provide better colloidal stability in cell medium, resulting in more uniform transfection and overall increased efficiency. Full article
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Article
Topical Drug Delivery Systems Based on Bacterial Nanocellulose: Accelerated Stability Testing
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041262 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) membranes have enormous potential as systems for topical drug delivery due to their intrinsic biocompatibility and three-dimensional nanoporous structure, which can house all kinds of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Thus, the present study investigated the long-term storage stability of BNC [...] Read more.
Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) membranes have enormous potential as systems for topical drug delivery due to their intrinsic biocompatibility and three-dimensional nanoporous structure, which can house all kinds of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Thus, the present study investigated the long-term storage stability of BNC membranes loaded with both hydrophilic and lipophilic APIs, namely, caffeine, lidocaine, ibuprofen and diclofenac. The storage stability was evaluated under accelerated testing conditions at different temperatures and relative humidity (RH), i.e., 75% RH/40 °C, 60% RH/25 °C and 0% RH/40 °C. All systems were quite stable under these storage conditions with no significant structural and morphological changes or variations in the drug release profile. The only difference observed was in the moisture-uptake, which increased with RH due to the hydrophilic nature of BNC. Furthermore, the caffeine-loaded BNC membrane was selected for in vivo cutaneous compatibility studies, where patches were applied in the volar forearm of twenty volunteers for 24 h. The cutaneous responses were assessed by non-invasive measurements and the tests revealed good compatibility for caffeine-loaded BNC membranes. These results highlight the good storage stability of the API-loaded BNC membranes and their cutaneous compatibility, which confirms the real potential of these dermal delivery systems. Full article
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Article
Preparation and Characterization of Surface Heat Sintered Nanohydroxyapatite and Nanowhitlockite Embedded Poly (Lactic-co-glycolic Acid) Microsphere Bone Graft Scaffolds: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020528 - 14 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
In the context of using bone graft materials to restore and improve the function of damaged bone tissues, macroporous biodegradable composite bone graft scaffolds have osteoinductive properties that allow them to provide a suitable environment for bone regeneration. Hydroxyapatite (HAP) and whitlockite (WLKT) [...] Read more.
In the context of using bone graft materials to restore and improve the function of damaged bone tissues, macroporous biodegradable composite bone graft scaffolds have osteoinductive properties that allow them to provide a suitable environment for bone regeneration. Hydroxyapatite (HAP) and whitlockite (WLKT) are the two major components of hard tissues such as bone and teeth. Because of their biocompatibility and osteoinductivity, we synthesized HAP (nHAP) and WLKT nanoparticles (nWLKT) by using the chemical precipitation method. The nanoparticles were separately incorporated within poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres. Following this, the composite microspheres were converted to macroporous bone grafts with sufficient mechanical strength in pin or screw shape through surface sintering. We characterized physico-chemical and mechanical properties of the nanoparticles and composites. The biocompatibility of the grafts was further tested through in vitro cell adhesion and proliferation studies using rabbit bone marrow stem cells. The ability to promote osteogenic differentiation was tested through alkaline phosphate activity and immunofluorescence staining of bone marker proteins. For in vivo study, the bone pins were implanted in tibia bone defects in rabbits to compare the bone regeneration ability though H&E, Masson’s trichrome and immunohistochemical staining. The results revealed similar physico-chemical characteristics and cellular response of PLGA/nHAP and PLGA/nWLKT scaffolds but the latter is associated with higher osteogenic potential towards BMSCs, pointing out the possibility to use this ceramic nanoparticle to prepare a sintered composite microsphere scaffold for potential bone grafts and tissue engineered implants. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Review
Protein and Polysaccharide-Based Magnetic Composite Materials for Medical Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010186 - 26 Dec 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2241
Abstract
The combination of protein and polysaccharides with magnetic materials has been implemented in biomedical applications for decades. Proteins such as silk, collagen, and elastin and polysaccharides such as chitosan, cellulose, and alginate have been heavily used in composite biomaterials. The wide diversity in [...] Read more.
The combination of protein and polysaccharides with magnetic materials has been implemented in biomedical applications for decades. Proteins such as silk, collagen, and elastin and polysaccharides such as chitosan, cellulose, and alginate have been heavily used in composite biomaterials. The wide diversity in the structure of the materials including their primary monomer/amino acid sequences allow for tunable properties. Various types of these composites are highly regarded due to their biocompatible, thermal, and mechanical properties while retaining their biological characteristics. This review provides information on protein and polysaccharide materials combined with magnetic elements in the biomedical space showcasing the materials used, fabrication methods, and their subsequent applications in biomedical research. Full article
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Article
In Situ Synthesis of MIL-100(Fe) at the Surface of Fe3O4@AC as Highly Efficient Dye Adsorbing Nanocomposite
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225612 - 09 Nov 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1600
Abstract
A new magnetic nanocomposite called MIL-100(Fe) @Fe3O4@AC was synthesized by the hydrothermal method as a stable adsorbent for the removal of Rhodamine B (RhB) dye from aqueous medium. In this work, in order to increase the carbon uptake capacity, [...] Read more.
A new magnetic nanocomposite called MIL-100(Fe) @Fe3O4@AC was synthesized by the hydrothermal method as a stable adsorbent for the removal of Rhodamine B (RhB) dye from aqueous medium. In this work, in order to increase the carbon uptake capacity, magnetic carbon was first synthesized and then the Fe3O4 was used as the iron (III) supplier to synthesize MIL-100(Fe). The size of these nanocomposite is about 30–50 nm. Compared with activated charcoal (AC) and magnetic activated charcoal (Fe3O4@AC) nanoparticles, the surface area of MIL-100(Fe) @Fe3O4@AC were eminently increased while the magnetic property of this adsorbent was decreased. The surface area of AC, Fe3O4@AC, and MIL-100(Fe) @Fe3O4@AC was 121, 351, and 620 m2/g, respectively. The magnetic and thermal property, chemical structure, and morphology of the MIL-100(Fe) @Fe3O4@AC were considered by vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), zeta potential, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Brunner-Emmet-Teller (BET), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses. The relatively high adsorption capacity was obtained at about 769.23 mg/g compared to other adsorbents to eliminate RhB dye from the aqueous solution within 40 min. Studies of adsorption kinetics and isotherms showed that RhB adsorption conformed the Langmuir isotherm model and the pseudo second-order kinetic model. Thermodynamic amounts depicted that the RhB adsorption was spontaneous and exothermic process. In addition, the obtained nanocomposite exhibited good reusability after several cycles. All experimental results showed that MIL-100(Fe) @Fe3O4@AC could be a prospective sorbent for the treatment of dye wastewater. Full article
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Review
Astrochemistry and Astrobiology: Materials Science in Wonderland?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(17), 4079; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20174079 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2726
Abstract
Astrochemistry and astrobiology, the fascinating disciplines that strive to unravel the origin of life, have opened unprecedented and unpredicted vistas into exotic compounds as well as extreme or complex reaction conditions of potential relevance for a broad variety of applications. Representative, and so [...] Read more.
Astrochemistry and astrobiology, the fascinating disciplines that strive to unravel the origin of life, have opened unprecedented and unpredicted vistas into exotic compounds as well as extreme or complex reaction conditions of potential relevance for a broad variety of applications. Representative, and so far little explored sources of inspiration include complex organic systems, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their derivatives; hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and formamide (HCONH2) oligomers and polymers, like aminomalononitrile (AMN)-derived species; and exotic processes, such as solid-state photoreactions on mineral surfaces, phosphorylation by minerals, cold ice irradiation and proton bombardment, and thermal transformations in fumaroles. In addition, meteorites and minerals like forsterite, which dominate dust chemistry in the interstellar medium, may open new avenues for the discovery of innovative catalytic processes and unconventional methodologies. The aim of this review was to offer concise and inspiring, rather than comprehensive, examples of astrochemistry-related materials and systems that may be of relevance in areas such as surface functionalization, nanostructures, and hybrid material design, and for innovative technological solutions. The potential of computational methods to predict new properties from spectroscopic data and to assess plausible reaction pathways on both kinetic and thermodynamic grounds has also been highlighted. Full article
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Review
Nanomaterials as Promising Alternative in the Infection Treatment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(15), 3806; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153806 - 04 Aug 2019
Cited by 51 | Viewed by 2434
Abstract
Both the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and the increased biofilm-associated infections are boosting the demand for new advanced and more effective treatment for such infections. In this sense, nanotechnology offers a ground-breaking platform for addressing this challenge. This review shows the current progress [...] Read more.
Both the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and the increased biofilm-associated infections are boosting the demand for new advanced and more effective treatment for such infections. In this sense, nanotechnology offers a ground-breaking platform for addressing this challenge. This review shows the current progress in the field of antimicrobial inorganic-based nanomaterials and their activity against bacteria and bacterial biofilm. Herein, nanomaterials preventing the bacteria adhesion and nanomaterials treating the infection once formed are presented through a classification based on their functionality. To fight infection, nanoparticles with inherent antibacterial activity and nanoparticles acting as nanovehicles are described, emphasizing the design of the carrier nanosystems with properties targeting the bacteria and the biofilm. Full article
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Article
The Effect of the Repression of Oxidative Stress on Tenocyte Differentiation: A Preliminary Study of a Rat Cell Model Using a Novel Differential Tensile Strain Bioreactor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143437 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1491
Abstract
Because of limitations in the current understanding of the exact pathogenesis of tendinopathy, and the lack of an optimal experimental model, effective therapy for the disease is currently unavailable. This study aims to prove that repression of oxidative stress modulates the differentiation of [...] Read more.
Because of limitations in the current understanding of the exact pathogenesis of tendinopathy, and the lack of an optimal experimental model, effective therapy for the disease is currently unavailable. This study aims to prove that repression of oxidative stress modulates the differentiation of tendon-derived cells (TDCs) sustaining excessive tensile strains, and proposes a novel bioreactor capable of applying differential tensile strains to cultured cells simultaneously. TDCs, including tendon-derived stem cells, tenoblasts, tenocytes, and fibroblasts, were isolated from the patellar tendons of Sprague‒Dawley rats. Cyclic uniaxial stretching with 4% or 8% strain at 0.5 Hz for 8 h was applied to TDCs. TDCs subjected to 8% strain were treated with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), piracetam, or no medication. Genes representing non-tenocyte lineage (Pparg, Sox9, and Runx2) and type I and type III collagen were analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The 8% strain group showed increased expression of non-tenocyte lineage genes and type III/type I collagen ratios compared with the control and 4% strain groups, and the increased expression was ameliorated with addition of EGCG and piracetam. The model developed in this work could be applied to future research on the pathophysiology of tendinopathy and development of treatment options for the disease. Repression of oxidative stress diminishes the expression of genes indicating aberrant differentiation in a rat cell model, which indicates potential therapeutic intervention of tendinopathy, the often relentlessly degenerate condition. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Molecular Weight on the Antibacterial Activity of N,N,N-Trimethyl Chitosan (TMC)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1743; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071743 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1827
Abstract
N,N,N-trimethyl chitosan (TMC) with 93% degree of trimethylation was synthesized. TMC and the chitosan starting material were subjected to acidic hydrolysis to produce 49 different samples with a reduced average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 2 [...] Read more.
N,N,N-trimethyl chitosan (TMC) with 93% degree of trimethylation was synthesized. TMC and the chitosan starting material were subjected to acidic hydrolysis to produce 49 different samples with a reduced average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 2 to 144 kDa. This was done to allow the investigation of the relationship between antibacterial activity and Mw over a wide Mw range. NMR investigation showed that hydrolysis did not affect the degree of trimethylation (DSTRI) or the structure of the polymer backbone. The activity of TMC against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) increased sharply with Mw until a certain Mw value (critical Mw for high activity, CMW) was reached. After the CMW, the activity was not affected by a further increase in the Mw. A similar pattern of activity was observed for chitosan. The CMW was determined to be 20 kDa for TMC and 50 kDa for chitosan. Full article
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Review
Bioengineered Skin Intended for Skin Disease Modeling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061407 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2351
Abstract
Clinical use of bioengineered skin in reconstructive surgery has been established for more than 30 years. The limitations and ethical considerations regarding the use of animal models have expanded the application of bioengineered skin in the areas of disease modeling and drug screening. [...] Read more.
Clinical use of bioengineered skin in reconstructive surgery has been established for more than 30 years. The limitations and ethical considerations regarding the use of animal models have expanded the application of bioengineered skin in the areas of disease modeling and drug screening. These skin models should represent the anatomical and physiological traits of native skin for the efficient replication of normal and pathological skin conditions. In addition, reliability of such models is essential for the conduction of faithful, rapid, and large-scale studies. Therefore, research efforts are focused on automated fabrication methods to replace the traditional manual approaches. This report presents an overview of the skin models applicable to skin disease modeling along with their fabrication methods, and discusses the potential of the currently available options to conform and satisfy the demands for disease modeling and drug screening. Full article
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Article
Rare-Earth-Doped Calcium Carbonate Exposed to X-ray Irradiation to Induce Reactive Oxygen Species for Tumor Treatment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051148 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1938
Abstract
Conventional photodynamic therapy (PDT) is limited by its penetration depth due to the photosensitizer and light source. In this study, we developed X-ray induced photodynamic therapy that applied X-ray as the light source to activate Ce-doped CaCO3 (CaCO3:Ce) to generate [...] Read more.
Conventional photodynamic therapy (PDT) is limited by its penetration depth due to the photosensitizer and light source. In this study, we developed X-ray induced photodynamic therapy that applied X-ray as the light source to activate Ce-doped CaCO3 (CaCO3:Ce) to generate an intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) for killing cancer cells. The A549 cell line was used as the in vitro and in vivo model to evaluate the efficacy of X-ray-induced CaCO3:Ce. The cell viability significantly decreased and cell cytotoxicity obviously increased with CaCO3:Ce exposure under X-ray irradiation, which is less harmful than radiotherapy in tumor treatment. CaCO3:Ce produced significant ROS under X-ray irradiation and promoted A549 cancer cell death. CaCO3:Ce can enhance the efficacy of X-ray induced PDT, and tumor growth was inhibited in vivo. The blood analysis and hematoxylin and eosin stain (H&E) stain fully supported the safety of the treatment. The mechanisms underlying ROS and CO2 generation by CaCO3:Ce activated by X-ray irradiation to induce cell toxicity, thereby inhibiting tumor growth, is discussed. These findings and advances are of great importance in providing a novel therapeutic approach as an alternative tumor treatment. Full article
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Review
Functional Mesoporous Silica Nanocomposites: Biomedical Applications and Biosafety
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040929 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 2436
Abstract
The rise and development of nanotechnology has enabled the creation of a wide number of systems with new and advantageous features to treat cancer. However, in many cases, the lone application of these new nanotherapeutics has proven not to be enough to achieve [...] Read more.
The rise and development of nanotechnology has enabled the creation of a wide number of systems with new and advantageous features to treat cancer. However, in many cases, the lone application of these new nanotherapeutics has proven not to be enough to achieve acceptable therapeutic efficacies. Hence, to avoid these limitations, the scientific community has embarked on the development of single formulations capable of combining functionalities. Among all possible components, silica—either solid or mesoporous—has become of importance as connecting and coating material for these new-generation therapeutic nanodevices. In the present review, the most recent examples of fully inorganic silica-based functional composites are visited, paying particular attention to those with potential biomedical applicability. Additionally, some highlights will be given with respect to their possible biosafety issues based on their chemical composition. Full article
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