Special Issue "Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomaterials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 October 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: nanomaterial-cell interactions; hazard assessment; 3D cell models; imaging
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Alke Petri-Fink
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Chemin des Verdiers 4, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
2. Department of Chemistry, University of Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 9, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: nanoparticle design; analytics; complex environments
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Barbara Drasler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: (nano)toxicology; in vitro cell culture; nanomedicine
Dr. Dedy Septiadi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: cell mechanics; bioimaging; nanomedicine; nanoparticle-cell interaction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From the shells of diatoms to the silks of spiders, from the wings and eyes of insects to the feathers of birds, nature has taught us its secrets and strategies to create and perfectly tailor functional materials with extraordinary physical, optical, chemical, mechanical, and biological properties. These so-called bio-inspired materials (i.e., synthetic materials mimicking natural materials) are found in many industrial and medical applications because of their unique features.

This Special Issue emphasizes the entire range of bio-inspired materials used in medical applications. It includes the synthetic approaches of formulating functional systems that can be used in drug and molecule (gene) delivery, bioimaging, and biosensing, regenerative medicine, and cancer treatment. In addition, the physico-chemical characterization strategy for bio-inspired materials, as well as (mathematical) modeling structure–property relationships, will be encompassed. Finally, the principles in developing safe-by-design bio-inspired nanomaterials for medical applications will be covered.

It is our pleasure to kindly invite you to submit a manuscript(s) for this Special Issue. Full papers and short communications, as well as reviews, would be greatly appreciated.

Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser
Prof. Alke Petri-Fink
Dr. Barbara Drasler
Dr. Dedy Septiadi
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. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2300 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

  • bio-inspired materials
  • medicine
  • drug delivery
  • bioimaging
  • biosensing
  • physicochemical characterization
  • safe-by-design

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
In Vitro Prevascularization of Self-Assembled Human Bone-Like Tissues and Preclinical Assessment Using a Rat Calvarial Bone Defect Model
Materials 2021, 14(8), 2023; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14082023 - 17 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
In vitro prevascularization has the potential to address the challenge of maintaining cell viability at the core of engineered constructs, such as bone substitutes, and to improve the survival of tissue grafts by allowing quicker anastomosis to the host microvasculature. The self-assembly approach [...] Read more.
In vitro prevascularization has the potential to address the challenge of maintaining cell viability at the core of engineered constructs, such as bone substitutes, and to improve the survival of tissue grafts by allowing quicker anastomosis to the host microvasculature. The self-assembly approach of tissue engineering allows the production of biomimetic bone-like tissue constructs including extracellular matrix and living human adipose-derived stromal/stem cells (hASCs) induced towards osteogenic differentiation. We hypothesized that the addition of endothelial cells could improve osteogenesis and biomineralization during the production of self-assembled human bone-like tissues using hASCs. Additionally, we postulated that these prevascularized constructs would consequently improve graft survival and bone repair of rat calvarial bone defects. This study shows that a dense capillary network spontaneously formed in vitro during tissue biofabrication after two weeks of maturation. Despite reductions in osteocalcin levels and hydroxyapatite formation in vitro in prevascularized bone-like tissues (35 days of culture), in vivo imaging of prevascularized constructs showed an improvement in cell survival without impeding bone healing after 12 weeks of implantation in a calvarial bone defect model (immunocompromised male rats), compared to their stromal counterparts. Globally, these findings establish our ability to engineer prevascularized bone-like tissues with improved functional properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Article
Polydopamine Ultrathin Film Growth on Mica via In-Situ Polymerization of Dopamine with Applications for Silver-Based Antimicrobial Coatings
Materials 2021, 14(3), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14030671 - 01 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 826
Abstract
The development of polydopamine (PDA) coatings with a nanometer-scale thickness on surfaces is highly desirable for exploiting the novel features arising from the specific structure on the molecular level. Exploring the mechanisms of thin-film growth is helpful for attaining desirable control over the [...] Read more.
The development of polydopamine (PDA) coatings with a nanometer-scale thickness on surfaces is highly desirable for exploiting the novel features arising from the specific structure on the molecular level. Exploring the mechanisms of thin-film growth is helpful for attaining desirable control over the useful properties of materials. We present a systematic study demonstrating the growth of a PDA thin film on the surface of mica in consecutive short deposition time intervals. Film growth at each deposition time was monitored through instrumental techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), water contact angle (WCA) analysis, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Film growth was initiated by adsorption of the PDA molecules on mica, with subsequent island-like aggregation, and finally, a complete molecular level PDA film was formed on the surface due to further molecular adsorption. A duration of 60−300 s was sufficient for complete formation of the PDA layer within the thickness range of 0.5−1.1 nm. An outstanding feature of PDA ultrathin films is their ability to act as a molecular adhesive, providing a foundation for constructing functional surfaces. We also explored antimicrobial applications by incorporating Ag nanoparticles into a PDA film. The Ag NPs/PDA film was formed on a surgical blade and then characterized and confirmed by SEM-EDS and XPS. The modified film inhibited bacterial growth by up to 42% on the blade after cutting through a pork meat sample. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Article
Increased Fibroblast Metabolic Activity of Collagen Scaffolds via the Addition of Propolis Nanoparticles
Materials 2020, 13(14), 3118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13143118 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1228
Abstract
Propolis natural extracts have been used since ancient times due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial activities. In this study, we produced scaffolds of type I collagen, extracted from Wistar Hanover rat tail tendons, and impregnated them with propolis nanoparticles (NPs) for [...] Read more.
Propolis natural extracts have been used since ancient times due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial activities. In this study, we produced scaffolds of type I collagen, extracted from Wistar Hanover rat tail tendons, and impregnated them with propolis nanoparticles (NPs) for applications in regenerative medicine. Our results show that the impregnation of propolis NPs to collagen scaffolds affected the collagen denaturation temperature and tensile strength. The changes in structural collagen self-assembly due to contact with organic nanoparticles were shown for the first time. The fibril collagen secondary structure was preserved, and the D-pattern gap increased to 135 ± 28 nm, without losing the microfiber structure. We also show that the properties of the collagen scaffolds depended on the concentration of propolis NPs. A concentration of 100 μg/mL of propolis NPs with 1 mg of collagen, with a hydrodynamic diameter of 173 nm, was found to be an optimal concentration to enhance 3T3 fibroblast cell metabolic activity and cell proliferation. The expected outcome from this research is both scientifically and socially relevant since the home scaffold using natural nanoparticles can be produced using a simple method and could be widely used for local medical care in developing communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Article
Characterization of the Shape Anisotropy of Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles during Thermal Decomposition
Materials 2020, 13(9), 2018; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13092018 - 25 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 976
Abstract
Magnetosomes are near-perfect intracellular magnetite nanocrystals found in magnetotactic bacteria. Their synthetic imitation, known as superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), have found applications in a variety of (nano)medicinal fields such as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents, multimodal imaging and drug carriers. In order [...] Read more.
Magnetosomes are near-perfect intracellular magnetite nanocrystals found in magnetotactic bacteria. Their synthetic imitation, known as superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), have found applications in a variety of (nano)medicinal fields such as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents, multimodal imaging and drug carriers. In order to perform these functions in medicine, shape and size control of the SPIONs is vital. We sampled SPIONs at ten-minutes intervals during the high-temperature thermal decomposition reaction. Their shape (sphericity and anisotropy) and geometric description (volume and surface area) were retrieved using three-dimensional imaging techniques, which allowed to reconstruct each particle in three dimensions, followed by stereological quantification methods. The results, supported by small angle X-ray scattering characterization, reveal that SPIONs initially have a spherical shape, then grow increasingly asymmetric and irregular. A high heterogeneity in volume at the initial stages makes place for lower particle volume dispersity at later stages. The SPIONs settled into a preferred orientation on the support used for transmission electron microscopy imaging, which hides the extent of their anisotropic nature in the axial dimension, there by biasing the interpretation of standard 2D micrographs. This information could be feedback into the design of the chemical processes and the characterization strategies to improve the current applications of SPIONs in nanomedicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Article
Multifuntional Gold Nanoparticles for the SERS Detection of Pathogens Combined with a LAMP–in–Microdroplets Approach
Materials 2020, 13(8), 1934; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13081934 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1690
Abstract
We developed a droplet-based optofluidic system for the detection of foodborne pathogens. Specifically, the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technique was combined with surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), which offers an excellent method for DNA ultradetection. However, the direct SERS detection of DNA compromises the [...] Read more.
We developed a droplet-based optofluidic system for the detection of foodborne pathogens. Specifically, the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technique was combined with surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), which offers an excellent method for DNA ultradetection. However, the direct SERS detection of DNA compromises the simplicity of data interpretation due to the variability of its SERS fingerprints. Therefore, we designed an indirect SERS detection method using multifunctional gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) based on the formation of pyrophosphate generated during the DNA amplification by LAMP. Towards this goal, we prepared multifunctional AuNPs involving three components with key roles: (1) thiolated poly(ethylene glycol) as stabilizing agent, (2) 1-naphthalenethiol as Raman reporter, and (3) glutathione as a bioinspired chelating agent of magnesium (II) ions. Thus, the variation in the SERS signal of 1-naphthalenethiol was controlled by the aggregation of AuNPs triggered by the complexation of pyrophosphate and glutathione with free magnesium ions. Using this strategy, we detected Listeria monocytogenes, not only in buffer, but also in a food matrix (i.e., ultra-high temperaturemilk) enabled by the massive production of hotspots as a result of the self-assemblies that enhanced the SERS signal. This allowed the development of a microdroplet-LAMP-SERS platform with isothermal amplification and real-time identification capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Communication
Bioinspired Thermosensitive Hydrogel as a Vitreous Substitute: Synthesis, Properties, and Progress of Animal Studies
Materials 2020, 13(6), 1337; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13061337 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
In many vitreal diseases, the surgeon removes the natural vitreous and replaces it with silicone oils, gases, or balanced salt solutions to fill the eyeball and hold the retina in position. However, these materials are often associated with complications and have properties that [...] Read more.
In many vitreal diseases, the surgeon removes the natural vitreous and replaces it with silicone oils, gases, or balanced salt solutions to fill the eyeball and hold the retina in position. However, these materials are often associated with complications and have properties that differ from natural vitreous. Herein, we report an extension of our previous work on the synthesis of a biomimetic hydrogel that is composed of thiolated gellan as an analogue of type II collagen and poly(methacrylamide-co-methacrylate-co-bis(methacryloyl)cystamine), a polyelectrolyte, as an analogue of hyaluronic acid. This thermosensitive hydrogel can be injected into the eye as a viscous solution at 45 °C. It then forms a physical gel in situ when it reaches body temperature, and later forms disulfide covalent crosslinks. In this article, we evaluated two different formulations of the biomimetic hydrogels for their physical, mechanical, and optical properties, and we determined their biocompatibility with several cell lines. Finally, we report on the progress of the four-month preclinical evaluation of our bio-inspired vitreous substitute in comparison to silicone oil or a balanced salt solution. We assessed the eyes with a slit-lamp examination, intraocular pressure measurements, electroretinography, and optical coherence tomography. Preliminary results are very encouraging for the continuing evaluation of our bio-inspired hydrogel in clinical trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Communication
Monocytic Cell-Induced Phase Transformation of Circulating Lipid-Based Liquid Crystalline Nanosystems
Materials 2020, 13(4), 1013; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13041013 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Both lamellar and non-lamellar configurations are naturally present in bio-membranes, and the synthetic lipid-based liquid crystalline nano-assemblies, mimicking these unique structures, (including liposomes, cubosomes and hexosomes) are applicable in the controlled delivery of bioactives. However, it remains uncertain whether these nanosystems retain their [...] Read more.
Both lamellar and non-lamellar configurations are naturally present in bio-membranes, and the synthetic lipid-based liquid crystalline nano-assemblies, mimicking these unique structures, (including liposomes, cubosomes and hexosomes) are applicable in the controlled delivery of bioactives. However, it remains uncertain whether these nanosystems retain their original phase identity upon contact with blood circulating cells. This study highlights a novel biological cell flow-through approach at the synchrotron-based small angle X-ray scattering facility (bio-SAXS) to unravel their real-time phase evolution when incubated with human monocytic cells (THP-1) in suspension. Phytantriol-based cubosomes were identified to undergo monocytic cell-induced phase transformation from cubic to hexagonal phase periodicity. On the contrary, hexosomes exhibited time-dependent growth of a swollen hexagonal phase (i.e., larger lattice parameters) without displaying alternative phase characteristics. Similarly, liposomes remained undetectable for any newly evolved phase identity. Consequently, this novel in situ bio-SAXS study concept is valuable in delivering new important insights into the bio-fates of various lipid-based nanosystems under simulated human systemic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Review

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Review
DNA Origami as Emerging Technology for the Engineering of Fluorescent and Plasmonic-Based Biosensors
Materials 2020, 13(9), 2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13092185 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
DNA nanotechnology is a powerful and promising tool for the development of nanoscale devices for numerous and diverse applications. One of the greatest potential fields of application for DNA nanotechnology is in biomedicine, in particular biosensing. Thanks to the control over their size, [...] Read more.
DNA nanotechnology is a powerful and promising tool for the development of nanoscale devices for numerous and diverse applications. One of the greatest potential fields of application for DNA nanotechnology is in biomedicine, in particular biosensing. Thanks to the control over their size, shape, and fabrication, DNA origami represents a unique opportunity to assemble dynamic and complex devices with precise and predictable structural characteristics. Combined with the addressability and flexibility of the chemistry for DNA functionalization, DNA origami allows the precise design of sensors capable of detecting a large range of different targets, encompassing RNA, DNA, proteins, small molecules, or changes in physico-chemical parameters, that could serve as diagnostic tools. Here, we review some recent, salient developments in DNA origami-based sensors centered on optical detection methods (readout) with a special emphasis on the sensitivity, the selectivity, and response time. We also discuss challenges that still need to be addressed before this approach can be translated into robust diagnostic devices for bio-medical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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Review
From Bioinspired Glue to Medicine: Polydopamine as a Biomedical Material
Materials 2020, 13(7), 1730; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13071730 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2117
Abstract
Biological structures have emerged through millennia of evolution, and nature has fine-tuned the material properties in order to optimise the structure–function relationship. Following this paradigm, polydopamine (PDA), which was found to be crucial for the adhesion of mussels to wet surfaces, was hence [...] Read more.
Biological structures have emerged through millennia of evolution, and nature has fine-tuned the material properties in order to optimise the structure–function relationship. Following this paradigm, polydopamine (PDA), which was found to be crucial for the adhesion of mussels to wet surfaces, was hence initially introduced as a coating substance to increase the chemical reactivity and surface adhesion properties. Structurally, polydopamine is very similar to melanin, which is a pigment of human skin responsible for the protection of underlying skin layers by efficiently absorbing light with potentially harmful wavelengths. Recent findings have shown the subsequent release of the energy (in the form of heat) upon light excitation, presenting it as an ideal candidate for photothermal applications. Thus, polydopamine can both be used to (i) coat nanoparticle surfaces and to (ii) form capsules and ultra-small (nano)particles/nanocomposites while retaining bulk characteristics (i.e., biocompatibility, stability under UV irradiation, heat conversion, and activity during photoacoustic imaging). Due to the aforementioned properties, polydopamine-based materials have since been tested in adhesive and in energy-related as well as in a range of medical applications such as for tumour ablation, imaging, and drug delivery. In this review, we focus upon how different forms of the material can be synthesised and the use of polydopamine in biological and biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-Inspired Materials for Medical Applications)
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