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Special Issue "Polymer Scaffolds for Biomedical Applications 2020"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Macromolecular Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Matthias Schnabelrauch
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Guest Editor
INNOVENT e. V., Department of Biomaterials, Pruessingstrasse 27B, D-07745 Jena, Germany
Interests: biomaterials; biopolymers; polymer synthesis; biodegradable polymers; polysaccharides; glycosaminoglycans; hydrogels; hybrid materials; tissue engineering; electrospinning; antibacterial polymers; material–cell interactions; surface modification
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymeric scaffolds derived from natural and synthetic sources play a crucial role in many clinical methods to repair or re-grow human tissue damaged by disease or trauma. Driven by medical progress to be able to regenerate even more complex tissues or organ components, the demands on polymer scaffold materials and manufacturing processes have also grown. Scaffolds with defined molecular structures, controlled degradation behavior, and mechanical properties that can be adapted to the respective tissue and the ability of materials to specifically interact with cells and bioactive molecules play an important role here. At the same time, powerful techniques for the production of complex and reproducible scaffold and carrier structures have been established and the surface properties of polymers adapted to the needs of the cells by means of efficient modification processes.

This Special Issue will focus on recent innovative developments with regard to the preparation of highly cytocompatible polymer materials and the establishment of high-performance manufacturing and modification processes for polymer and polymer composite scaffolds.

Topics are not limited to the above-mentioned studies but can cover all research areas concerning polymeric scaffolds for biomedical applications including transfer systems for therapeutic nucleic acids; release systems for bioactive molecules, such as growth factors to stimulate tissue regeneration; cell culture systems for organ-on-a-chip models; bio-imaging devices; or cell-based production systems for sera and vaccines.

Considering your prominent contribution in this interesting research field, I would like to cordially invite you to submit an article to this Special Issue. Full research papers, communications, and review articles are welcome.

Dr. Matthias Schnabelrauch
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All 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. Molecules 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 2000 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

  • Polymeric scaffolds
  • Natural and synthetic polymers
  • Scaffold fabrication techniques
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Tissue engineering
  • Additive manufacturing processes
  • Hydrogels
  • Nano and micro fibers
  • Porous materials
  • Polymer–cell interactions

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Two-Photon Polymerized Poly(2-Ethyl-2-Oxazoline) Hydrogel 3D Microstructures with Tunable Mechanical Properties for Tissue Engineering
Molecules 2020, 25(21), 5066; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25215066 - 31 Oct 2020
Abstract
The main task of tissue engineering (TE) is to reproduce, replicate, and mimic all kinds of tissues in the human body. Nowadays, it has been proven useful in TE to mimic the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) by an artificial ECM (scaffold) based on [...] Read more.
The main task of tissue engineering (TE) is to reproduce, replicate, and mimic all kinds of tissues in the human body. Nowadays, it has been proven useful in TE to mimic the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) by an artificial ECM (scaffold) based on synthetic or natural biomaterials to regenerate the physiological tissue/organ architecture and function. Hydrogels have gained interest in the TE community because of their ability to absorb water similar to physiological tissues, thus mechanically simulating the ECM. In this work, we present a novel hydrogel platform based on poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s, which can be processed to 3D microstructures via two-photon polymerization (2PP) with tunable mechanical properties using monomers and crosslinker with different degrees of polymerization (DP) for future applications in TE. The ideal parameters (laser power and writing speed) for optimal polymerization via 2PP were obtained using a specially developed evaluation method in which the obtained structures were binarized and compared to the computer-aided design (CAD) model. This evaluation was performed for each composition. We found that it was possible to tune the mechanical properties not only by application of different laser parameters but also by mixing poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s with different chain lengths and variation of the crosslink density. In addition, the swelling behavior of different fabricated hydrogels were investigated. To gain more insight into the viscoelastic behavior of different fabricated materials, stress relaxation tests via nanoindentation experiments were performed. These new hydrogels can be processed to 3D microstructures with high structural integrity using optimal laser parameter settings, opening a wide range of application properties in TE for this material platform. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Scaffolds for Biomedical Applications 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of PVA Molecular Weight and Concentration on Electrospinnability of Birch Bark Extract-Loaded Nanofibrous Scaffolds Intended for Enhanced Wound Healing
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4799; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204799 - 19 Oct 2020
Abstract
Triterpenes from the outer bark of birch (TE) are known for various pharmacological effects including enhanced wound healing. Apart from an already authorized oleogel, electrospun nanofiber mats containing these triterpenes in a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) matrix appear to be an advantageous application form. [...] Read more.
Triterpenes from the outer bark of birch (TE) are known for various pharmacological effects including enhanced wound healing. Apart from an already authorized oleogel, electrospun nanofiber mats containing these triterpenes in a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) matrix appear to be an advantageous application form. The effects of PVA molecular weight and concentration on the fiber morphology have been investigated. Three different molecular weights of PVA ranging from 67 to 186 kDa were used. The concentration of PVA was varied from 5 to 20 wt%. Polymer solutions were blended with colloidal dispersions of birch bark extract at a weight ratio of 60:40 (wt.%). The estimated viscosity of polymer solutions was directly linked to their concentration and molecular weight. In addition, both pure and blended solutions showed viscoelastic properties with a dominant viscous response in the bulk. Fiber morphology was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Both polymer concentration and molecular weight were found to be significant factors affecting the diameter of the fibers. Fiber diameter increased with a higher molecular weight and polymer concentration as more uniform fibers were obtained using PVA of higher molecular weight (146–186 kDa). In vitro drug release and ex vivo permeation studies indicated a faster drug release of betulin from electrospun scaffolds with lower PVA molecular weight. Our research suggests that the fabricated TE-loaded PVA electrospun dressings represent potential delivery systems of TE for wound care applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Scaffolds for Biomedical Applications 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication and Plasma Surface Activation of Aligned Electrospun PLGA Fiber Fleeces with Improved Adhesion and Infiltration of Amniotic Epithelial Stem Cells Maintaining their Teno-inductive Potential
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3176; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143176 - 11 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Electrospun PLGA microfibers with adequate intrinsic physical features (fiber alignment and diameter) have been shown to boost teno-differentiation and may represent a promising solution for tendon tissue engineering. However, the hydrophobic properties of PLGA may be adjusted through specific treatments to improve cell [...] Read more.
Electrospun PLGA microfibers with adequate intrinsic physical features (fiber alignment and diameter) have been shown to boost teno-differentiation and may represent a promising solution for tendon tissue engineering. However, the hydrophobic properties of PLGA may be adjusted through specific treatments to improve cell biodisponibility. In this study, electrospun PLGA with highly aligned microfibers were cold atmospheric plasma (CAP)-treated by varying the treatment exposure time (30, 60, and 90 s) and the working distance (1.3 and 1.7 cm) and characterized by their physicochemical, mechanical and bioactive properties on ovine amniotic epithelial cells (oAECs). CAP improved the hydrophilic properties of the treated materials due to the incorporation of new oxygen polar functionalities on the microfibers’ surface especially when increasing treatment exposure time and lowering working distance. The mechanical properties, though, were affected by the treatment exposure time where the optimum performance was obtained after 60 s. Furthermore, CAP treatment did not alter oAECs’ biocompatibility and improved cell adhesion and infiltration onto the microfibers especially those treated from a distance of 1.3 cm. Moreover, teno-inductive potential of highly aligned PLGA electrospun microfibers was maintained. Indeed, cells cultured onto the untreated and CAP treated microfibers differentiated towards the tenogenic lineage expressing tenomodulin, a mature tendon marker, in their cytoplasm. In conclusion, CAP treatment on PLGA microfibers conducted at 1.3 cm working distance represent the optimum conditions to activate PLGA surface by improving their hydrophilicity and cell bio-responsiveness. Since for tendon tissue engineering purposes, both high cell adhesion and mechanical parameters are crucial, PLGA treated for 60 s at 1.3 cm was identified as the optimal construct. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Scaffolds for Biomedical Applications 2020)
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