Synthesis, Characterization and Biomedical Applications of Hydrogels

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2022) | Viewed by 18127

Special Issue Editor

Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA
Interests: biomaterials engineering; hydrogel nanocomposites; in vitro cell culture platforms; protein structure and function
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Hydrogels—three-dimensional crosslinked networks of hydrophilic polymers—have become a popular choice for many biomedical applications due to their ability to hold large amounts of water or biological fluids, therapeutic agents, and other biomolecules. Furthermore, many of their properties (porosity, swellability, viscoelasticity, etc.) can be tuned for different applications by either altering their chemical composition and crosslinking, or by external stimuli such as pH and temperature. Hydrogels have thus been used as prime candidates for the development of biosensors, drug delivery platforms, extracellular matrix scaffolds for tissue engineering, and bioinks for 3D bioprinting. This Special Issue will highlight original articles and reviews that describe the synthesis and characterization of hydrogels for various biomedical applications, including the delivery of therapeutics, self-healing, scaffold design, biofabrication, and regenerative medicine. Submissions describing the development of multifunctional hydrogels and reinforced hydrogel composites are also highly encouraged, as are perspectives on future trends and challenges in this field.

Dr. Prashanth Asuri
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • hydrogels
  • tunable properties
  • biosensing
  • delivery of therapeutics
  • self-healing and wound closure
  • cell culture scaffolds
  • biofabrication and bioprinting
  • multifunctional hydrogels
  • reinforced composites

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 208 KiB  
Editorial
Recent Advances and Future Challenges in the Additive Manufacturing of Hydrogels
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030494 - 26 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
The emergence of additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D printing, was predated by significant advances in the understanding and controlled engineering of hydrogels [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Characterization and Biomedical Applications of Hydrogels)

Research

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14 pages, 6816 KiB  
Article
Biocompatible and Thermoresistant Hydrogels Based on Collagen and Chitosan
Polymers 2022, 14(2), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14020272 - 10 Jan 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2436
Abstract
Hydrogels are considered good biomaterials for soft tissue regeneration. In this sense, collagen is the most used raw material to develop hydrogels, due to its high biocompatibility. However, its low mechanical resistance, thermal stability and pH instability have generated the need to look [...] Read more.
Hydrogels are considered good biomaterials for soft tissue regeneration. In this sense, collagen is the most used raw material to develop hydrogels, due to its high biocompatibility. However, its low mechanical resistance, thermal stability and pH instability have generated the need to look for alternatives to its use. In this sense, the combination of collagen with another raw material (i.e., polysaccharides) can improve the final properties of hydrogels. For this reason, the main objective of this work was the development of hydrogels based on collagen and chitosan. The mechanical, thermal and microstructural properties of the hydrogels formed with different ratios of collagen/chitosan (100/0, 75/25, 50/50, 25/75 and 0/100) were evaluated after being processed by two variants of a protocol consisting in two stages: a pH change towards pH 7 and a temperature drop towards 4 °C. The main results showed that depending on the protocol, the physicochemical and microstructural properties of the hybrid hydrogels were similar to the unitary system depending on the stage carried out in first place, obtaining FTIR peaks with similar intensity or a more porous structure when chitosan was first gelled, instead of collagen. As a conclusion, the synergy between collagen and chitosan improved the properties of the hydrogels, showing good thermomechanical properties and cell viability to be used as potential biomaterials for Tissue Engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Characterization and Biomedical Applications of Hydrogels)
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15 pages, 4079 KiB  
Article
The Rheological Studies on Poly(vinyl) Alcohol-Based Hydrogel Magnetorheological Plastomer
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2332; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102332 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2584
Abstract
The freezing–thawing method has been commonly used in the preparation of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel magnetorheological plastomer (PVA HMRP). However, this method is complex and time consuming as it requires high energy consumption and precise temperature control. In this study, PVA HMRP was prepared [...] Read more.
The freezing–thawing method has been commonly used in the preparation of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel magnetorheological plastomer (PVA HMRP). However, this method is complex and time consuming as it requires high energy consumption and precise temperature control. In this study, PVA HMRP was prepared using a chemically crosslinked method, where borax is used as crosslinking agent capable of changing the rheological properties of the material. Three samples of PVA HMRP with various contents of carbonyl iron particles (CIPs) (50, 60, and 70 wt.%) were used to investigate their rheological properties in both steady shear and dynamic oscillation modes. Results showed the occurrence of shear thickening behaviour at low shear rate (γ > 1 s−1), where the viscosity increased with the increased of shear rate. Moreover, the storage modulus of the samples also increased increasing the oscillation frequency from 0.1 to 100 Hz. Interestingly, the samples with 50, 60 70 wt.% of CIPs produced large relative magnetorheological (MR) effects at 4916%, 6165%, and 10,794%, respectively. Therefore, the inclusion of borax to the PVA HMRP can offer solutions for a wide range of applications, especially in artificial muscle, soft actuators, and biomedical sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Characterization and Biomedical Applications of Hydrogels)
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19 pages, 4065 KiB  
Article
Micro-Clotting of Platelet-Rich Plasma Upon Loading in Hydrogel Microspheres Leads to Prolonged Protein Release and Slower Microsphere Degradation
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1712; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081712 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3865
Abstract
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an autologous blood product that contains a variety of growth factors (GFs) that are released upon platelet activation. Despite some therapeutic potential of PRP in vitro, in vivo data are not convincing. Bolus injection of PRP is cleared rapidly [...] Read more.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an autologous blood product that contains a variety of growth factors (GFs) that are released upon platelet activation. Despite some therapeutic potential of PRP in vitro, in vivo data are not convincing. Bolus injection of PRP is cleared rapidly from the body diminishing its therapeutic efficacy. This highlights a need for a delivery vehicle for a sustained release of PRP to improve its therapeutic effect. In this study, we used microfluidics to fabricate biodegradable PRP-loaded polyethylene glycol (PEG) microspheres. PRP was incorporated into the microspheres as a lyophilized PRP powder either as is (powder PRP) or first solubilized and pre-clotted to remove clots (liquid PRP). A high PRP loading of 10% w/v was achieved for both PRP preparations. We characterized the properties of the resulting PRP-loaded PEG microspheres including swelling, modulus, degradation, and protein release as a function of PRP loading and preparation. Overall, loading powder PRP into the PEG microspheres significantly affected the properties of microspheres, with the most pronounced effect noted in degradation. We further determined that microsphere degradation in the presence of powder PRP was affected by platelet aggregation and clotting. Platelet aggregation did not prevent but prolonged sustained PRP release from the microspheres. The delivery system developed and characterized herein could be useful for the loading and releasing of PRP to promote tissue regeneration and wound healing or to suppress tissue degeneration in osteoarthritis, and intervertebral disc degeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Characterization and Biomedical Applications of Hydrogels)
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Review

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14 pages, 1156 KiB  
Review
Multifunctional Hydrogel Nanocomposites for Biomedical Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(6), 856; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13060856 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 6223
Abstract
Hydrogels are used for various biomedical applications due to their biocompatibility, capacity to mimic the extracellular matrix, and ability to encapsulate and deliver cells and therapeutics. However, traditional hydrogels have a few shortcomings, especially regarding their physical properties, thereby limiting their broad applicability. [...] Read more.
Hydrogels are used for various biomedical applications due to their biocompatibility, capacity to mimic the extracellular matrix, and ability to encapsulate and deliver cells and therapeutics. However, traditional hydrogels have a few shortcomings, especially regarding their physical properties, thereby limiting their broad applicability. Recently, researchers have investigated the incorporation of nanoparticles (NPs) into hydrogels to improve and add to the physical and biochemical properties of hydrogels. This brief review focuses on papers that describe the use of nanoparticles to improve more than one property of hydrogels. Such multifunctional hydrogel nanocomposites have enhanced potential for various applications including tissue engineering, drug delivery, wound healing, bioprinting, and biowearable devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Characterization and Biomedical Applications of Hydrogels)
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