Special Issue "Functional Polymers for Biomedicine"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Kangwon Lee
Website
Guest Editor
Program in Nano Science and Technology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Interests: biomaterials; tissue engineering; functional polymers; biosensors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Functional polymers for tissue engineering as biomaterials, derived from natural and synthetic polymers by polymerization of functional monomers or by modifications of synthetic and natural polymers, continue to be a research hotspot. The biomedical polymers exhibit a far-reaching variability of physical and chemical characteristics, allowing for the adjustment of their biocompatibility, bioactivity, stimuli responsiveness, biodegradability, and so on. The ongoing advancement of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine requires new multifunctional and adaptive biopolymeric materials, which have to be appropriate for various medical applications.

This Special Issue will center on both the preparation and the application of various biomedical polymers and intends to cover the most exciting, recent developments in the field. Both original articles and reviews are welcome.

Prof. Kangwon Lee
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • tissue engineering
  • functional polymers
  • biomaterials
  • regenerative medicine
  • hydrogels
  • biosensor applications
  • biomedical engineering

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Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Femtosecond Laser Fabrication of Engineered Functional Surfaces Based on Biodegradable Polymer and Biopolymer/Ceramic Composite Thin Films
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020378 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Surface functionalization introduced by precisely-defined surface structures depended on the surface texture and quality. Laser treatment is an advanced, non-contact technique for improving the biomaterials surface characteristics. In this study, femtosecond laser modification was applied to fabricate diverse structures on biodegradable polymer thin [...] Read more.
Surface functionalization introduced by precisely-defined surface structures depended on the surface texture and quality. Laser treatment is an advanced, non-contact technique for improving the biomaterials surface characteristics. In this study, femtosecond laser modification was applied to fabricate diverse structures on biodegradable polymer thin films and their ceramic blends. The influences of key laser processing parameters like laser energy and a number of applied laser pulses (N) over laser-treated surfaces were investigated. The modification of surface roughness was determined by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The surface roughness (Rrms) increased from approximately 0.5 to nearly 3 µm. The roughness changed with increasing laser energy and a number of applied laser pulses (N). The induced morphologies with different laser parameters were compared via Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal microscopy analysis. The chemical composition of exposed surfaces was examined by FTIR, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and XRD analysis. This work illustrates the capacity of the laser microstructuring method for surface functionalization with possible applications in improvement of cellular attachment and orientation. Cells exhibited an extended shape along laser-modified surface zones compared to non-structured areas and demonstrated parallel alignment to the created structures. We examined laser-material interaction, microstructural outgrowth, and surface-treatment effect. By comparing the experimental results, it can be summarized that considerable processing quality can be obtained with femtosecond laser structuring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing X-ray Attenuation of 3D Printed Gelatin Methacrylate (GelMA) Hydrogels Utilizing Gold Nanoparticles for Bone Tissue Engineering Applications
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020367 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Bone tissue engineering is a rapidly growing field which is currently progressing toward clinical applications. Effective imaging methods for longitudinal studies are critical to evaluating the new bone formation and the fate of the scaffolds. Computed tomography (CT) is a prevailing technique employed [...] Read more.
Bone tissue engineering is a rapidly growing field which is currently progressing toward clinical applications. Effective imaging methods for longitudinal studies are critical to evaluating the new bone formation and the fate of the scaffolds. Computed tomography (CT) is a prevailing technique employed to investigate hard tissue scaffolds; however, the CT signal becomes weak in mainly-water containing materials, which hinders the use of CT for hydrogels-based materials. Nevertheless, hydrogels such as gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) are widely used for tissue regeneration due to their optimal biological properties and their ability to induce extracellular matrix formation. To date, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been suggested as promising contrast agents, due to their high X-ray attenuation, biocompatibility, and low toxicity. In this study, the effects of different sizes and concentrations of AuNPs on the mechanical properties and the cytocompatibility of the bulk GelMA-AuNPs scaffolds were evaluated. Furthermore, the enhancement of CT contrast with the cytocompatible size and concentration of AuNPs were investigated. 3D printed GelMA and GelMA-AuNPs scaffolds were obtained and assessed for the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Lastly, 3D printed GelMA and GelMA-AuNPs scaffolds were scanned in a bone defect utilizing µCT as the proof of concept that the GelMA-AuNPs are good candidates for bone tissue engineering with enhanced visibility for µCT imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation of a Cross-Linked Cartilage Acellular-Matrix Film and Its In Vivo Evaluation as an Antiadhesive Barrier
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020247 - 02 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In this paper, a cartilage acellular-matrix (CAM) is chosen as a biomaterial for an effective antiadhesive barrier to apply between injured tissue and healthy tissues or organs. CAM is cross-linked using glutaraldehyde to create a cross-linked CAM (Cx-CAM) film. Cx-CAM has higher elastic [...] Read more.
In this paper, a cartilage acellular-matrix (CAM) is chosen as a biomaterial for an effective antiadhesive barrier to apply between injured tissue and healthy tissues or organs. CAM is cross-linked using glutaraldehyde to create a cross-linked CAM (Cx-CAM) film. Cx-CAM has higher elastic modulus and toughness and more hydrophobic surface properties than CAM before cross-linking. Small intestinal submucosa (SIS), cross-linked SIS (Cx-SIS) as a negative control, and Seprafilm as a positive control are used in an experiment as adhesion barriers. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) on SIS, Cx-SIS, or in a culture plate get attached and effectively proliferate for 7 days, but Cx-CAM and Seprafilm allow for little or no attachment and proliferation of HUVECs, thus manifesting antiadhesive and antiproliferative effects. In animals with surgical damage to the peritoneal wall and cecum, Cx-CAM and Seprafilm afford little adhesion and negligible inflammation after seven days, as confirmed by hematoxylin and eosin staining and macrophage staining, in contrast to an untreated-injury model, SIS, or Cx-SIS film. Cx-CAM significantly suppresses the formation of blood vessels between the peritoneal wall and cecum, as confirmed by CD31 staining. Overall, the newly designed Cx-CAM film works well as an antiadhesion barrier and has better anti-tissue adhesion efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
The Application of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Bone Tissue Repair Hybrid Scaffolds and the Effect on Cell Growth In Vitro
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020230 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this study, composite scaffolds with different multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) content were prepared by freeze-drying. These scaffolds were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), porosity, hydrophilicity, mechanical strength, and degradation. The MWCNTs scaffolds [...] Read more.
In this study, composite scaffolds with different multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) content were prepared by freeze-drying. These scaffolds were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), porosity, hydrophilicity, mechanical strength, and degradation. The MWCNTs scaffolds were structurally sound and had porous structures that offered ample space for adherence, proliferation, and differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells, and also supported the transport of nutrients and metabolic waste. CS/Gel/nHAp/0.3%MWCNTs scaffolds provided the best outcomes in terms of scaffold porosity, hydrophilicity, and degradation rate. However, CS/Gel/nHAp/0.6%MWCNTs scaffolds were found to support the optimal growth, homogenous distribution, and biological activity of MC3T3-E1 cells. The excellent properties of CS/Gel/nHAp/0.6%MWCNTs scaffolds for the adhesion, proliferation, and osteogenesis differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells in vitro highlights the potential applications of this scaffold in bone tissue regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Silicone Implant Coated with Tranilast-Loaded Polymer in a Pattern for Fibrosis Suppression
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020223 - 30 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Pathologic fibrosis around silicone implants is problematic, and thus, these implants have been coated with a mixture of a biocompatible polymer and antifibrotic drug for sustained drug release to prevent fibrosis. However, a coating applied over an entire surface would be subject to [...] Read more.
Pathologic fibrosis around silicone implants is problematic, and thus, these implants have been coated with a mixture of a biocompatible polymer and antifibrotic drug for sustained drug release to prevent fibrosis. However, a coating applied over an entire surface would be subject to mechanical instability as the implant would be severely crumpled for implant insertion. Therefore, in this work, we proposed localized, patterned coating dots, each composed of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and tranilast, to be applied on the surface of silicone implants. The drug loaded in the pattern-coated implant herein was well retained after a cyclic tensile test. Due to the presence of PLGA in each coating dot, the tranilast could be released in a sustained manner for more than 14 days. When implanted in a subcutaneous pocket in living rats for 12 weeks, compared with the intact implant, the pattern-coated implant showed a decreased capsule thickness and collagen density, as well as less transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) expression and fewer fibroblasts; importantly, these changes were similar between the surfaces with and without the coating dots. Therefore, we conclude that the pattern-coating strategy proposed in this study can still effectively prevent fibrosis by maintaining the physical stability of the coatings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Biocompatibility of Small-Diameter Vascular Grafts in Different Modes of RGD Modification
Polymers 2019, 11(1), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11010174 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Modification with Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptides is a promising approach to improve biocompatibility of small-calibre vascular grafts but it is unknown how different RGD sequence composition impacts graft performance. Here we manufactured 1.5 mm poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)/poly(ε-caprolactone) grafts modified by distinct linear or cyclic [...] Read more.
Modification with Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptides is a promising approach to improve biocompatibility of small-calibre vascular grafts but it is unknown how different RGD sequence composition impacts graft performance. Here we manufactured 1.5 mm poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)/poly(ε-caprolactone) grafts modified by distinct linear or cyclic RGD peptides immobilized by short or long amine linker arms. Modified vascular prostheses were tested in vitro to assess their mechanical properties, hemocompatibility, thrombogenicity and endothelialisation. We also implanted these grafts into rat abdominal aortas with the following histological examination at 1 and 3 months to evaluate their primary patency, cellular composition and detect possible calcification. Our results demonstrated that all modes of RGD modification reduce ultimate tensile strength of the grafts. Modification of prostheses does not cause haemolysis upon the contact with modified grafts, yet all the RGD-treated grafts display a tendency to promote platelet aggregation in comparison with unmodified counterparts. In vivo findings identify that cyclic Arg-Gly-Asp-Phe-Lys peptide in combination with trioxa-1,13-tridecanediamine linker group substantially improve graft biocompatibility. To conclude, here we for the first time compared synthetic small-diameter vascular prostheses with different modes of RGD modification. We suggest our graft modification regimen as enhancing graft performance and thus recommend it for future use in tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Patterned Polyvinyl Alcohol Hydrogel Dressings with Stem Cells Seeded for Wound Healing
Polymers 2019, 11(1), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11010171 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 16
Abstract
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel and stem cell therapy have been widely used in wound healing. However, the lack of bioactivity for PVA and security of stem therapy limited their application. In this study, an adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs)-seeded PVA dressing (ADSCs/PVA) was prepared [...] Read more.
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel and stem cell therapy have been widely used in wound healing. However, the lack of bioactivity for PVA and security of stem therapy limited their application. In this study, an adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs)-seeded PVA dressing (ADSCs/PVA) was prepared for wound healing. One side of the PVA dressing was modified with photo-reactive gelatin (Az-Gel) via ultraviolet (UV) irradiation ([email protected]), and thus ADSCs could adhere, proliferate on the PVA dressings and keep the other side of the dressings without adhering to the wound. The structure and mechanics of [email protected] were determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and material testing instruments. Then, the adhesion and proliferation of ADSCs were observed via cell counts and live-dead staining. Finally, in vitro and in vivo experiments were utilized to confirm the effect of ADSCs/PVA dressing for wound healing. The results showed that Az-Gel was immobilized on the PVA and showed little effect on the mechanical properties of PVA hydrogels. The surface-modified PVA could facilitate ADSCs adhesion and proliferation. Protein released tests indicated that the bioactive factors secreted from ADSCs could penetrated to the wound. Finally, in vitro and in vivo experiments both suggested the ADSCs/PVA could promote the wound healing via secreting bioactive factors from ADSCs. It was speculated that the ADSCs/PVA dressing could not only promote the wound healing, but also provide a new way for the safe application of stem cells, which would be of great potential for skin tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Nanocrystalline Hydroxyapatite Loaded with Resveratrol in Colloidal Suspension Improves Viability, Metabolic Activity and Mitochondrial Potential in Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Stem Cells (hASCs)
Polymers 2019, 11(1), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11010092 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
In response to the demand for new multifunctional materials characterized by high biocompatibility, hydrogel (HG) nanocomposites as a platform for bioactive compound delivery have been developed and fabricated. A specific crosslinking/copolymerization chemistry was used to construct hydrogels with a controlled network organization. The [...] Read more.
In response to the demand for new multifunctional materials characterized by high biocompatibility, hydrogel (HG) nanocomposites as a platform for bioactive compound delivery have been developed and fabricated. A specific crosslinking/copolymerization chemistry was used to construct hydrogels with a controlled network organization. The hydrogels were prepared using 3,6-anhydro-α-l-galacto-β-d-galactan (galactose hydrogel) together with resveratrol (trans-3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene) and calcium hydroxyapatite nanoparticles. The resveratrol was introduced in three different concentrations of 0.1, 0.5, and 1 mM. Nanosized calcium hydroxyapatite was synthesized by a microwave-assisted hydrothermal technique, annealed at 500 °C for 3 h, and introduced at a concentration 10% (m/v). The morphology and structural properties of Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 and its composite were determined by using XRPD (X-ray powder diffraction) techniques, as well as the absorption and IR (infrared) spectroscopy. The average nanoparticle size was 35 nm. The water affinity, morphology, organic compound release profile, and cytocompatibility of the obtained materials were studied in detail. The designed hydrogels were shown to be materials of biological relevance and of great pharmacological potential as carriers for bioactive compound delivery. Their cytocompatibility was tested using a model of human multipotent stromal cells isolated from adipose tissue (hASCs). The biomaterials increased the proliferative activity and viability of hASCs, as well as reduced markers of oxidative stress. In light of the obtained results, it has been thought that the designed materials meet the requirements of the tissue engineering triad, and may find application in regenerative medicine, especially for personalized therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Pathway for Efficient Covalent Modification of Polyester Materials of Different Design to Prepare Biomimetic Surfaces
Polymers 2018, 10(12), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10121299 - 23 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
To form modern materials with biomimic surfaces, the novel pathway for surface functionalization with specific ligands of well-known and widely used polyester-based rigid media was developed and optimized. Two types of material bases, namely, poly(lactic acid) and poly(ε-caprolactone), as well as two types [...] Read more.
To form modern materials with biomimic surfaces, the novel pathway for surface functionalization with specific ligands of well-known and widely used polyester-based rigid media was developed and optimized. Two types of material bases, namely, poly(lactic acid) and poly(ε-caprolactone), as well as two types of material design, e.g., supermacroporous matrices and nanoparticles (NPs), were modified via covalent attachment of preliminary oxidized polyvinylsaccharide poly(2-deoxy-N-methacryloylamido-d-glucose) (PMAG). This polymer, being highly biocompatible and bioinspired, was used to enhance hydrophilicity of the polymer surface and to provide the elevated concentration of reactive groups required for covalent binding of bioligands of choice. The specialties of the interaction of PMAG and its preliminary formed bioconjugates with a chemically activated polyester surface were studied and thoroughly discussed. The supermacroporous materials modified with cell adhesion motifs and Arg-Gly-Asp-containing peptide (RGD-peptide) were tested in the experiments on bone tissue engineering. In turn, the NPs were modified with bioligands (“self-peptide” or camel antibodies) to control their phagocytosis that can be important, for example, for the preparation of drug delivery systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Polyaspartamide Functionalized Catechol-Based Hydrogels Embedded with Silver Nanoparticles for Antimicrobial Properties
Polymers 2018, 10(11), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10111188 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, polyaspartamide-based hydrogels were synthesized by boron-catechol coordination followed by incorporation of AgNPs into the materials. Free catechol moieties were exploited to produce AgNPs. TEM analyses displayed AgNPs of less than 20 nm in diameter and with minimum aggregation, attesting the [...] Read more.
In this study, polyaspartamide-based hydrogels were synthesized by boron-catechol coordination followed by incorporation of AgNPs into the materials. Free catechol moieties were exploited to produce AgNPs. TEM analyses displayed AgNPs of less than 20 nm in diameter and with minimum aggregation, attesting the role of hydrogels to act as an efficient template for the production of dispersed particles. XRD analyses confirmed the mean particle size using the Scherrer equation. Release kinetic studies were performed in DMEM medium, showing a slow release over a long time-period. Finally, the MIC and MBC were determined, demonstrating a bacteriostatic and bactericidal effect against Gram-positive S. aureus and Gram-negative E. coli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Tissue Engineering Strategies for Intervertebral Disc Treatment Using Functional Polymers
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11050872 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Intervertebral disc (IVD) is the fibrocartilage between the vertebrae, allowing the spine to move steadily by bearing multidirectional complex loads. Aging or injury usually causes degeneration of IVD, which is one of the main reasons for low back pain prevalent worldwide and reduced [...] Read more.
Intervertebral disc (IVD) is the fibrocartilage between the vertebrae, allowing the spine to move steadily by bearing multidirectional complex loads. Aging or injury usually causes degeneration of IVD, which is one of the main reasons for low back pain prevalent worldwide and reduced quality of life. While various treatment strategies for degenerative IVD have been studied using in vitro studies, animal experiments, and clinical trials, there are unsolved limitations for endogenous regeneration of degenerative IVD. In this respect, several tissue engineering strategies that are based on the cell and scaffolds have been extensively researched with positive outcomes for regeneration of IVD tissues. Scaffolds made of functional polymers and their diverse forms mimicking the macro- and micro-structure of native IVD enhance the biological and mechanical properties of the scaffolds for IVD regeneration. In this review, we discuss diverse morphological and functional polymers and tissue engineering strategies for endogenous regeneration of degenerative IVD. Tissue engineering strategies using functional polymers are promising therapeutics for fundamental and endogenous regeneration of degenerative IVD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Engineered Stem Cell-Derived Cell Sheets for Tissue Regeneration
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020209 - 26 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The substantial progress made in the field of stem cell-based therapy has shown its significant potential applications for the regeneration of defective tissues and organs. Although previous studies have yielded promising results, several limitations remain and should be overcome for translating stem cell-based [...] Read more.
The substantial progress made in the field of stem cell-based therapy has shown its significant potential applications for the regeneration of defective tissues and organs. Although previous studies have yielded promising results, several limitations remain and should be overcome for translating stem cell-based therapies to clinics. As a possible solution to current bottlenecks, cell sheet engineering (CSE) is an efficient scaffold-free method for harvesting intact cell sheets without the use of proteolytic enzymes, and may be able to accelerate the adoption of stem cell-based treatments for damaged tissues and organs regeneration. CSE uses a temperature-responsive polymer-immobilized surface to form unique, scaffold-free cell sheets composed of one or more cell layers maintained with important intercellular junctions, cell-secreted extracellular matrices, and other important cell surface proteins, which can be achieved by changing the surrounding temperature. These three-dimensional cell sheet-based tissues can be designed for use in clinical applications to target-specific tissue regeneration. This review will highlight the principles, progress, and clinical relevance of current approaches in the cell sheet-based technology, focusing on stem cell-based therapies for bone, periodontal, skin, and vascularized muscles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Biomedicine)
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