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Special Issue "Biomimetic Polymers"

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A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. João F. Mano (Website1, Website2)

Department of Chemistry, CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Phone: +351 234 370 733
Fax: +351 253 510 909
Interests: biomaterials; tissue engineering; controlled delivery of bioactive molecules; natural-based biodegradable polymers; biomimetic and nano/micro-technology approaches

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For many years scientist realized that Nature offers astonishing examples for original inspiration. In particular, macromolecules found in any life form, and used as structural or functional purposes, have encouraged the development of innovative and unconventional synthetic polymeric counterparts that could be employed in many fields, including biomedicine, energy, environmental or high-performance materials. The unique properties found in polysaccharides, proteins or nucleic acids and the fundamental understanding of the origins of such behaviours have lead to the progress of the synthesis of novel macromolecular-based systems exhibiting useful properties, including self-assembling capability, stimuli-responsiveness, augmented properties (mechanical, adhesion, extreme wettability, self-healing), highly-specific bio-recognition or multifunctional character. Such materials can be also assembled at different length-scales and shapes to produce devices for multiple-applications.

Prof. Dr. João F. Mano
Guest Editor

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 monthly 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 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • bio-inspired macromolecules
  • smart and multifunctional systems
  • self-assembly
  • soft-matter
  • bioactive and bio-instructive polymers

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle 2-(Dimethylamino)ethyl Methacrylate/(2-Hydroxyethyl) Methacrylate/α-Tricalcium Phosphate Cryogels for Bone Repair, Preparation and Evaluation of the Biological Response of Human Trabecular Bone-Derived Cells and Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Polymers 2014, 6(10), 2510-2525; doi:10.3390/polym6102510
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
PDF Full-text (6144 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this work is to evaluate the potential of cryogels to be used as scaffolds in tissue engineering. Scaffolds based on the α-tricalcium phosphate reinforced PDMAEMA (Poly(dimethyl aminoethyl methacrylate))/PHEMA (poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate)) system were prepared and human trabecular bone-derived cells (HTBs) [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to evaluate the potential of cryogels to be used as scaffolds in tissue engineering. Scaffolds based on the α-tricalcium phosphate reinforced PDMAEMA (Poly(dimethyl aminoethyl methacrylate))/PHEMA (poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate)) system were prepared and human trabecular bone-derived cells (HTBs) and bone marrow derived-mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) cultured on them. Several features, such as porosity, pore shape, molecular weight between crosslinks and mesh size, are studied. The most suitable PDMAEMA/PHEMA ratio for cell proliferation has been assessed and the viability, adhesion, proliferation and expression of osteoblastic biochemical markers are evaluated. The PDMAEMA/PHEMA ratio influences the scaffolds porosity. Values between 53% ± 5.7% for a greater content in PHEMA and 75% ± 5.5% for a greater content in PDMAEMA have been obtained. The polymer ratio also modifies the pore shape. A greater content in PDMAEMA leads also to bigger network mesh size. Each of the compositions were non-cytotoxic, the seeded cells remained viable for both BM-MSCs and HTBs. Thus, and based on the structural analysis, specimens with a greater content in PDMAEMA seem to provide a better structural environment for their use as scaffolds for tissue engineering. The α-tricalcium phosphate incorporation into the composition seems to favor the expression of the osteogenic phenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Azetidinium Functionalized Polytetrahydrofurans: Antimicrobial Properties in Solution and Application to Prepare Non Leaching Antimicrobial Surfaces
Polymers 2014, 6(5), 1618-1630; doi:10.3390/polym6051618
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 12 May 2014 / Published: 23 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (339 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this work, we report the antimicrobial efficacy of azetidinium functionalized polytetrahydrofurans in solution and their application in the preparation of non leaching, antimicrobial surfaces. The excellent antimicrobial efficacy of these water soluble polymers both in solution and on surfaces (>99.99%–100% bacterial [...] Read more.
In this work, we report the antimicrobial efficacy of azetidinium functionalized polytetrahydrofurans in solution and their application in the preparation of non leaching, antimicrobial surfaces. The excellent antimicrobial efficacy of these water soluble polymers both in solution and on surfaces (>99.99%–100% bacterial growth inhibition) makes them excellent candidates for solving the hygiene related problems in the medical and hospital environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
Open AccessArticle Chitosan Membranes Exhibiting Shape Memory Capability by the Action of Controlled Hydration
Polymers 2014, 6(4), 1178-1186; doi:10.3390/polym6041178
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 31 March 2014 / Accepted: 10 April 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (567 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chitosan membranes can undergo a glass transition at room temperature triggered by hydration. The mechanical properties of the membranes were followed by a tension test and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), with the sample in wet conditions after being immersed in varying compositions [...] Read more.
Chitosan membranes can undergo a glass transition at room temperature triggered by hydration. The mechanical properties of the membranes were followed by a tension test and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), with the sample in wet conditions after being immersed in varying compositions of water/ethanol mixtures. Results show that with the increasing of water content, the Young’s and storage modulus decrease systematically. For water contents of ca. 35 vol%, chitosan (CHT) exhibits a glass transition, showing an elastomeric plateau in the elastic modulus above this hydration level and the occurrence of a peak in the loss factor. Due to the semi-crystalline nature of CHT, membranes of this biomaterial present a shape memory capability induced by water uptake. By fixation of the permanent shape by further covalent cross-linking, the membranes can have different permanent shapes appropriate for different applications, including in the biomedical area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
Open AccessArticle Phase Transformation of Adefovir Dipivoxil/Succinic Acid Cocrystals Regulated by Polymeric Additives
Polymers 2014, 6(1), 1-11; doi:10.3390/polym6010001
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1020 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The polymorphic phase transformation in the cocrystallization of adefovir dipivoxil (AD) and succinic acid (SUC) was investigated. Inspired by biological and biomimetic crystallization, polymeric additives were utilized to control the phase transformation. With addition of poly(acrylic acid), the metastable phase newly identified [...] Read more.
The polymorphic phase transformation in the cocrystallization of adefovir dipivoxil (AD) and succinic acid (SUC) was investigated. Inspired by biological and biomimetic crystallization, polymeric additives were utilized to control the phase transformation. With addition of poly(acrylic acid), the metastable phase newly identified through the analysis of X-ray diffraction was clearly isolated from the previously reported stable form. Without additives, mixed phases were obtained even at the early stage of cocrystallization. Also, infrared spectroscopy analysis verified the alteration of the hydrogen bonding that was mainly responsible for the cocrystal formation between AD and SUC. The hydrogen bonding in the metastable phase was relatively stronger than that in the stable form, which indicated the locally strong AD/SUC coupling in the initial stage of cocrystallization followed by the overall stabilization during the phase transformation. The stronger hydrogen bonding could be responsible for the faster nucleation of the initially observed metastable phase. The present study demonstrated that the polymeric additives could function as effective regulators for the polymorph-selective cocrystallization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
Open AccessArticle Release of Potassium Ion and Calcium Ion from Phosphorylcholine Group Bearing Hydrogels
Polymers 2013, 5(4), 1241-1257; doi:10.3390/polym5041241
Received: 28 September 2013 / Revised: 17 October 2013 / Accepted: 25 October 2013 / Published: 11 November 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (582 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In an attempt to recreate the microenvironment necessary for directed hematopoietic stem cell differentiation, control over the amount of ions available to the cells is necessary. The release of potassium ion and calcium ion via the control of cross-linking density of a [...] Read more.
In an attempt to recreate the microenvironment necessary for directed hematopoietic stem cell differentiation, control over the amount of ions available to the cells is necessary. The release of potassium ion and calcium ion via the control of cross-linking density of a poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA)-based hydrogel containing 1 mol % 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) and 5 mol % oligo(ethylene glycol) (400) monomethacrylate [OEG(400)MA] was investigated. Tetra(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (TEGDA), the cross-linker, was varied over the range of 1–12 mol %. Hydrogel discs (ϕ = 4.5 mm and h = 2.0 mm) were formed by UV polymerization within silicone isolators to contain 1.0 M CaCl2 and 0.1 M KCl, respectively. Isothermal release profiles, were measured at 37 °C in 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid sodium salt (HEPES) buffer using either calcium ion or potassium ion selective electrodes (ISE). The resulting release profiles were found to be independent of cross-linking density. Average (n = 3) release profiles were fit to five different release models with the Korsmeyer-Peppas equation, a porous media transport model, exhibiting the greatest correlation (R2 > 0.95). The diffusion exponent, n was calculated to be 0.24 ± 0.02 and 0.36 ± 0.04 for calcium ion and potassium ion respectively indicating non-Fickian diffusion. The resulting diffusion coefficients were calculated to be 2.6 × 10−6 and 11.2 × 10−6 cm2/s, which compare well to literature values of 2.25 × 10−6 and 19.2 × 10−6 cm2/s for calcium ion and potassium ion, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Addressing the Inflammatory Response to Clinically Relevant Polymers by Manipulating the Host Response Using ITIM Domain-Containing Receptors
Polymers 2014, 6(10), 2526-2551; doi:10.3390/polym6102526
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 6 September 2014 / Accepted: 19 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tissue contacting surfaces of medical devices initiate a host inflammatory response, characterized by adsorption of blood proteins and inflammatory cells triggering the release of cytokines, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), in an attempt to clear or isolate the [...] Read more.
Tissue contacting surfaces of medical devices initiate a host inflammatory response, characterized by adsorption of blood proteins and inflammatory cells triggering the release of cytokines, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), in an attempt to clear or isolate the foreign object from the body. This normal host response contributes to device-associated pathophysiology and addressing device biocompatibility remains an unmet need. Although widespread attempts have been made to render the device surfaces unreactive, the establishment of a completely bioinert coating has been untenable and demonstrates the need to develop strategies based upon the molecular mechanisms that define the interaction between host cells and synthetic surfaces. In this review, we discuss a family of transmembrane receptors, known as immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM)-containing receptors, which show promise as potential targets to address aberrant biocompatibility. These receptors repress the immune response and ensure that the intensity of an immune response is appropriate for the stimuli. Particular emphasis will be placed on the known ITIM-containing receptor, Signal Regulatory Protein Alpha (SIRPα), and its cognate ligand CD47. In addition, this review will discuss the potential of other ITIM-containing proteins as targets for addressing the aberrant biocompatibility of polymeric biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
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Open AccessReview Function and Autonomous Behavior of Self-Oscillating Polymer Systems
Polymers 2014, 6(7), 1958-1971; doi:10.3390/polym6071958
Received: 28 April 2014 / Revised: 16 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
PDF Full-text (4542 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel gel undergoes the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction in strong-acid-free conditions. Under such conditions, the gel can switch the BZ reaction on or off in conventional self-oscillating gels that undergo self-oscillation only in aqueous solutions with strong acids, such as HNO3 [...] Read more.
A novel gel undergoes the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction in strong-acid-free conditions. Under such conditions, the gel can switch the BZ reaction on or off in conventional self-oscillating gels that undergo self-oscillation only in aqueous solutions with strong acids, such as HNO3 or H2SO4. The self-oscillation of the polymer chain can be controlled by varying the temperature, owing to its thermoresponsive property. Moreover, the polymer chain undergoes viscosity self-oscillations in strong-acid-free conditions. In this review, the direct observation of self-oscillations in polymer chains attached to glass or gold surfaces, by using scanning probe microscopy and quartz crystal microbalances with dissipation monitoring, is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
Open AccessReview Polyelectrolyte Multilayers: Towards Single Cell Studies
Polymers 2014, 6(5), 1502-1527; doi:10.3390/polym6051502
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 3 May 2014 / Published: 20 May 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (2091 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Single cell analysis (SCA) is nowadays recognized as one of the key tools for diagnostics and fundamental cell biology studies. The Layer-by-layer (LbL) polyelectrolyte assembly is a rather new but powerful technique to produce multilayers. It allows to model the extracellular matrix [...] Read more.
Single cell analysis (SCA) is nowadays recognized as one of the key tools for diagnostics and fundamental cell biology studies. The Layer-by-layer (LbL) polyelectrolyte assembly is a rather new but powerful technique to produce multilayers. It allows to model the extracellular matrix in terms of its chemical and physical properties. Utilization of the multilayers for SCA may open new avenues in SCA because of the triple role of the multilayer film: (i) high capacity for various biomolecules; (ii) natural mimics of signal molecule diffusion to a cell and (iii) cell patterning opportunities. Besides, light-triggered release from multilayer films offers a way to deliver biomolecules with high spatio-temporal resolution. Here we review recent works showing strong potential to use multilayers for SCA and address accordingly the following issues: biomolecule loading, cell patterning, and light-triggered release. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
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Open AccessReview Polymeric Slippery Coatings: Nature and Applications
Polymers 2014, 6(5), 1266-1311; doi:10.3390/polym6051266
Received: 18 February 2014 / Revised: 16 April 2014 / Accepted: 23 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (52769 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We review recent developments in nature-inspired superhydrophobic and omniphobic surfaces. Water droplets beading on a surface at significantly high static contact angles and low contact-angle hystereses characterize superhydrophobicity. Microscopically, rough hydrophobic surfaces could entrap air in their pores resulting in a portion [...] Read more.
We review recent developments in nature-inspired superhydrophobic and omniphobic surfaces. Water droplets beading on a surface at significantly high static contact angles and low contact-angle hystereses characterize superhydrophobicity. Microscopically, rough hydrophobic surfaces could entrap air in their pores resulting in a portion of a submerged surface with air–water interface, which is responsible for the slip effect. Suberhydrophobicity enhances the mobility of droplets on lotus leaves for self-cleaning purposes, so-called lotus effect. Amongst other applications, superhydrophobicity could be used to design slippery surfaces with minimal skin-friction drag for energy conservation. Another kind of slippery coatings is the recently invented slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS), which are one type of omniphobic surfaces. Certain plants such as the carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher inspired SLIPS. Their interior surfaces have microstructural roughness, which can lock in place an infused lubricating liquid. The lubricant is then utilized as a repellent surface for other liquids such as water, blood, crude oil, and alcohol. In this review, we discuss the concepts of both lotus effect and Nepenthes slippery mechanism. We then present a review of recent advances in manufacturing polymeric and non-polymeric slippery surfaces with ordered and disordered micro/nanostructures. Furthermore, we discuss the performance and longevity of such surfaces. Techniques used to characterize the surfaces are also detailed. We conclude the article with an overview of the latest advances in characterizing and using slippery surfaces for different applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Polymers)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.


Type of Paper: Review
Title:
Acylation of natural polymers by glucomannan acetyl esterases
Authors: Evangelos Topakas 1 and Paul Christakopoulos 2
Affiliation:
1
Biotechnology Laboratory, School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 5 Iroon Polytechniou Str, Zografou Campous, 15700 Athens, Greece
2 Biochemical and Chemical Process Engineering, Division of Sustainable Process Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden
Abstract: The ability of a CE2 glucomannan acetyl esterase from Clostridium thermocellum to catalyze acyl transfer to various natural mono- and polysaccharides was investigated. The transesterification reactions were carried out in two-phase mixtures consisted of water/vinyl esters that were also played the role of the acyl donors. The esterase preferred the acylation of d-glucose, d-mannose and d-galactose to the corresponding n-propyl and n-butyl esters, exhibiting strict regioselectivity at O-6 position. This acylation potential was also proved successful for the decoration of various polysaccharides that contain the aforementioned sugars, such as glucomannan, galactomannan, -glucan and lichenan.

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