Special Issue "Polymers in Biomedical Engineering"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maurice N. Collins
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Stokes Laboratories, Bernal institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Interests: structure/property relationships in polymers; biopolymers; biomedical polymers; tissue engineering; polymer composites; polymer processing; hydrogels
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Mario Culebras Rubio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Stokes Laboratories, Bernal institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Interests: sustainable polymers; conductive polymers; polymer precursor materials; polymer fibers; polymer processing; polymer characterization; thermoelectric polymers
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleges,

Polymers are considered key materials for medical applications due to their advantageous multifunctional chemical structures; mechanical properties; biocompatibility; and ease of chemical modification, which offers the possibility of  micro and nanostructure tunability. Applications such as drug delivery, cancer therapy, scaffolds for tissue regeneration, and polymers in implants have demonstrated the enormous potential of these materials in the biomedical engineering field. Therefore, this Special Issue is launched in order to cover new aspects of both synthetic and biopolymers within the biomedical engineering field. We bring together a number of original papers and reviews covering but not restricted to the following topics:

  • Polymers for drug delivery (nanoparticles and excipients);
  • Polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering;
  • Polymers for cancer therapy;
  • Polymers in orthopaedic implants (for, e.g., UHMWPEs);
  • 3D printed polymeric constructs for medical applications.

Dr. Maurice N. Collins
Dr. Mario Culebras Rubio
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. Polymers 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 2200 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

  • Polymers for drug delivery (nanoparticles and excipients)
  • Polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering
  • Polymers for cancer therapy
  • Polymers in orthopaedic implants (for, e.g., UHMWPEs)
  • 3D printed polymeric constructs for medical applications.

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Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Impact of Ergothioneine, Hercynine, and Histidine on Oxidative Degradation of Hyaluronan and Wound Healing
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010095 - 29 Dec 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
A high-molecular weight hyaluronan is oxidatively degraded by Cu(II) ions and ascorbate—the so called Weissberger biogenic oxidative system—which is one of the most potent generators of reactive oxygen species, namely OH radicals. Ergothioneine, hercynine, or histidine were loaded into chitosan/hyaluronan composite membranes [...] Read more.
A high-molecular weight hyaluronan is oxidatively degraded by Cu(II) ions and ascorbate—the so called Weissberger biogenic oxidative system—which is one of the most potent generators of reactive oxygen species, namely OH radicals. Ergothioneine, hercynine, or histidine were loaded into chitosan/hyaluronan composite membranes to examine their effect on skin wound healing in ischemic rabbits. We also explored the ability of ergothioneine, hercynine, or histidine to inhibit hyaluronan degradation. Rotational viscometry showed that ergothioneine decreased the degree of hyaluronan radical degradation in a dose-dependent manner. While histidine was shown to be potent in scavenging OH radicals, however, hercynine was ineffective. In vivo results showed that the addition of each investigated agent to chitosan/hyaluronan membranes contributed to a more potent treatment of ischemic skin wounds in rabbits compared to untreated animals and animals treated only with chitosan/hyaluronan membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Yerba Mate Extract in Microfibrillated Cellulose and Corn Starch Films as a Potential Wound Healing Bandage
Polymers 2020, 12(12), 2807; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12122807 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
Microfibrillated cellulose films have been gathering considerable attention due to their high mechanical properties and cheap cost. Additionally, it is possible to include compounds within the fibrillated structure in order to confer desirable properties. Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil, yerba mate leaf extract has [...] Read more.
Microfibrillated cellulose films have been gathering considerable attention due to their high mechanical properties and cheap cost. Additionally, it is possible to include compounds within the fibrillated structure in order to confer desirable properties. Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil, yerba mate leaf extract has been reported to possess a high quantity of caffeoylquinic acids that may be beneficial for other applications instead of its conventional use as a hot beverage. Therefore, we investigate the effect of blending yerba mate extract during and after defibrillation of Eucalyptus sp. bleached kraft paper by ultrafine grinding. Blending the extract during defibrillation increased the mechanical and thermal properties, besides being able to use the whole extract. Afterwards, this material was also investigated with high content loadings of starch and glycerine. The results present that yerba mate extract increases film resistance, and the defibrillated cellulose is able to protect the bioactive compounds from the extract. Additionally, the films present antibacterial activity against two known pathogens S. aureus and E. coli, with high antioxidant activity and increased cell proliferation. This was attributed to the bioactive compounds that presented faster in vitro wound healing, suggesting that microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) films containing extract of yerba mate can be a potential alternative as wound healing bandages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Enhanced Bioactivity of Micropatterned Hydroxyapatite Embedded Poly(L-lactic) Acid for a Load-Bearing Implant
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2390; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102390 - 17 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 646
Abstract
Poly(L-lactic) acid (PLLA) is among the most promising polymers for bone fixation, repair, and tissue engineering due to its biodegradability and relatively good mechanical strength. Despite these beneficial characteristics, its poor bioactivity often requires incorporation of bioactive ceramic materials. A bioresorbable composite made [...] Read more.
Poly(L-lactic) acid (PLLA) is among the most promising polymers for bone fixation, repair, and tissue engineering due to its biodegradability and relatively good mechanical strength. Despite these beneficial characteristics, its poor bioactivity often requires incorporation of bioactive ceramic materials. A bioresorbable composite made of PLLA and hydroxyapatite (HA) may improve biocompatibility but typically causes deterioration in mechanical properties, and bioactive coatings inevitably carry a risk of coating delamination. Therefore, in this study, we embedded micropatterned HA on the surface of PLLA to improve bioactivity while eliminating the risk of HA delamination. An HA pattern was successfully embedded in a PLLA matrix without degeneration of the matrix’s mechanical properties, thanks to a transfer technique involving conversion of Mg to HA. Furthermore, patterned HA/PLLA’s biological response outperformed that of pure PLLA. These results confirm patterned HA/PLLA as a candidate for wide acceptance in biodegradable load-bearing implant applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Investigations on the Mechanical Properties of Glass Fiber/Sisal Fiber/Chitosan Reinforced Hybrid Polymer Sandwich Composite Scaffolds for Bone Fracture Fixation Applications
Polymers 2020, 12(7), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12071501 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1089
Abstract
This study aims to explore the mechanical properties of hybrid glass fiber (GF)/sisal fiber (SF)/chitosan (CTS) composite material for orthopedic long bone plate applications. The GF/SF/CTS hybrid composite possesses a unique sandwich structure and comprises GF/CTS/epoxy as the external layers and SF/CTS/epoxy as [...] Read more.
This study aims to explore the mechanical properties of hybrid glass fiber (GF)/sisal fiber (SF)/chitosan (CTS) composite material for orthopedic long bone plate applications. The GF/SF/CTS hybrid composite possesses a unique sandwich structure and comprises GF/CTS/epoxy as the external layers and SF/CTS/epoxy as the inner layers. The composite plate resembles the human bone structure (spongy internal cancellous matrix and rigid external cortical). The mechanical properties of the prepared hybrid sandwich composites samples were evaluated using tensile, flexural, micro hardness, and compression tests. The scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images were studied to analyze the failure mechanism of these composite samples. Besides, contact angle (CA) and water absorption tests were conducted using the sessile drop method to examine the wettability properties of the SF/CTS/epoxy and GF/SF/CTS/epoxy composites. Additionally, the porosity of the GF/SF/CTS composite scaffold samples were determined by using the ethanol infiltration method. The mechanical test results show that the GF/SF/CTS hybrid composites exhibit the bending strength of 343 MPa, ultimate tensile strength of 146 MPa, and compressive strength of 380 MPa with higher Young’s modulus in the bending tests (21.56 GPa) compared to the tensile (6646 MPa) and compressive modulus (2046 MPa). Wettability study results reveal that the GF/SF/CTS composite scaffolds were hydrophobic (CA = 92.41° ± 1.71°) with less water absorption of 3.436% compared to the SF/CTS composites (6.953%). The SF/CTS composites show a hydrophilic character (CA = 54.28° ± 3.06°). The experimental tests prove that the GF/SF/CTS hybrid composite can be used for orthopedic bone fracture plate applications in future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
The Role of Two-Step Blending in the Properties of Starch/Chitin/Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Composites for Biomedical Applications
Polymers 2020, 12(3), 592; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12030592 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1372
Abstract
The current research trend for excellent miscibility in polymer mixing is the use of plasticizers. The use of most plasticizers usually has some negative effects on the mechanical properties of the resulting composite and can sometimes make it toxic, which makes such polymers [...] Read more.
The current research trend for excellent miscibility in polymer mixing is the use of plasticizers. The use of most plasticizers usually has some negative effects on the mechanical properties of the resulting composite and can sometimes make it toxic, which makes such polymers unsuitable for biomedical applications. This research focuses on the improvement of the miscibility of polymer composites using two-step mixing with a rheomixer and a mix extruder. Polylactic acid (PLA), chitin, and starch were produced after two-step mixing, using a compression molding method with decreasing composition variation (between 8% to 2%) of chitin and increasing starch content. A dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) was used to study the mechanical behavior of the composite at various temperatures. The tensile strength, yield, elastic modulus, impact, morphology, and compatibility properties were also studied. The DMA results showed a glass transition temperature range of 50 °C to 100 °C for all samples, with a distinct peak value for the loss modulus and factor. The single distinct peak value meant the polymer blend was compatible. The storage and loss modulus increased with an increase in blending, while the loss factor decreased, indicating excellent compatibility and miscibility of the composite components. The mechanical properties of the samples improved compared to neat PLA. Small voids and immiscibility were noticed in the scanning electron microscopy images, and this was corroborated by X-ray diffraction graphs that showed an improvement in the crystalline nature of PLA with starch. Bioabsorption and toxicity tests showed compatibility with the rat system, which is similar to the human system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Rapid Photoinduced Single Cell Detachment from Gold Nanoparticle-Embedded Collagen Gels with Low Denaturation Temperature
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010213 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1100
Abstract
Cell Separation is important in various biomedical fields. We have prepared gold nanoparticle (AuNP)-embedded collagen gels as a visible-light-responsive cell scaffold in which photoinduced single cell detachment occurs through local thermal denaturation of the collagen gel via the photothermal effect of AuNP. Physicochemical [...] Read more.
Cell Separation is important in various biomedical fields. We have prepared gold nanoparticle (AuNP)-embedded collagen gels as a visible-light-responsive cell scaffold in which photoinduced single cell detachment occurs through local thermal denaturation of the collagen gel via the photothermal effect of AuNP. Physicochemical properties of collagen materials depend on the origin of the collagen and the presence of telopeptides. In this study, we prepared various AuNP-embedded collagen gels by using different collagen materials with and without the telopeptides to compare their thermal denaturation properties and photoinduced single cell detachment behaviors. Cellmatrix type I-C without telopeptides exhibited a lower denaturation temperature than Cellmatrix type I-A and Atelocell IAC, as examined by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, rheological analysis, and sol–gel transition observation. Three-dimensional (3D) laser microscopic imaging revealed that collagen fibers shrank in Cellmatrix type I-A upon heating, but collagen fibers disappeared in Cellmatrix type I-C upon heating. Cells cultured on the Cellmatrix type I-C-based AuNP-embedded collagen gel detached with shorter photoirradiation than on the Cellmatrix type I-A-based AuNP-embedded collagen gel, suggesting that collagen gels without telopeptides are suitable for a photoinduced single cell detachment system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Design of Controlled Release System for Paracetamol Based on Modified Lignin
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061059 - 18 Jun 2019
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 2578
Abstract
The influence of lignin modification on drug release and pH-dependent releasing behavior of oral solid dosage forms was investigated using three different formulations. The first formulation contains microcrystalline cellulose (MCC 101) as the excipient and paracetamol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The [...] Read more.
The influence of lignin modification on drug release and pH-dependent releasing behavior of oral solid dosage forms was investigated using three different formulations. The first formulation contains microcrystalline cellulose (MCC 101) as the excipient and paracetamol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The second formulation includes Alcell lignin and MCC 101 as the excipient and paracetamol, and the third formulation consists of carboxylated Alcell lignin, MCC 101 and paracetamol. Direct compaction was carried out in order to prepare the tablets. Lignin can be readily chemically modified due to the existence of different functional groups in its structure. The focus of this investigation is on lignin carboxylation and its influence on paracetamol control release behavior at varying pH. Results suggest that carboxylated lignin tablets had the highest drug release, which is linked to their faster disintegration and lower tablet hardness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Review

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Review
Current Advances in 3D Bioprinting Technology and Its Applications for Tissue Engineering
Polymers 2020, 12(12), 2958; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12122958 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology has emerged as a powerful biofabrication platform for tissue engineering because of its ability to engineer living cells and biomaterial-based 3D objects. Over the last few decades, droplet-based, extrusion-based, and laser-assisted bioprinters have been developed to fulfill certain requirements [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology has emerged as a powerful biofabrication platform for tissue engineering because of its ability to engineer living cells and biomaterial-based 3D objects. Over the last few decades, droplet-based, extrusion-based, and laser-assisted bioprinters have been developed to fulfill certain requirements in terms of resolution, cell viability, cell density, etc. Simultaneously, various bio-inks based on natural–synthetic biomaterials have been developed and applied for successful tissue regeneration. To engineer more realistic artificial tissues/organs, mixtures of bio-inks with various recipes have also been developed. Taken together, this review describes the fundamental characteristics of the existing bioprinters and bio-inks that have been currently developed, followed by their advantages and disadvantages. Finally, various tissue engineering applications using 3D bioprinting are briefly introduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Review
Pharmacologic Application Potentials of Sulfated Polysaccharide from Marine Algae
Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071163 - 08 Jul 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2495
Abstract
With the advent of exploration in finding new sources for treating different diseases, one possible natural source is from marine algae. Having an array of potential benefits, researchers are interested in the components which comprise one of these activities. This can lead to [...] Read more.
With the advent of exploration in finding new sources for treating different diseases, one possible natural source is from marine algae. Having an array of potential benefits, researchers are interested in the components which comprise one of these activities. This can lead to the isolation of active compounds with biological activities, such as antioxidation of free radicals, anti-inflammation, antiproliferation of cancer cells, and anticoagulant to name a few. One of the compounds that are isolated from marine algae are sulfated polysaccharides (SPs). SPs are complex heterogenous natural polymers with an abundance found in different species of marine algae. Marine algae are known to be one of the most important sources of SPs, and depending on the species, its chemical structure varies. This variety has important physical and chemical components and functions which has gained the attention of researchers as this contributes to the many facets of its pharmacologic activity. In this review, recent pharmacologic application potentials and updates on the use of SPs from marine algae are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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