Surgical reconstruction of extensive tracheal lesions is challenging. It requires a mechanically stable, biocompatible, and nontoxic material that gradually degrades. One of the possible solutions for overcoming the limitations of tracheal transplantation is a three-dimensional (3D) printed tracheal scaffold made of polymers. Polymer blending is one of the methods used to produce material for a trachea scaffold with tailored characteristics. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the mechanical and in vitro properties of a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and polylactic acid (PLA) blend as a potential material for 3D printed tracheal scaffolds. Both materials were melt-blended using a single screw extruder. The morphologies (as well as the mechanical and thermal characteristics) were determined via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, tensile test, and Differential Scanning calorimetry (DSC). The samples were also evaluated for their water absorption, in vitro biodegradability, and biocompatibility. It is demonstrated that, despite being not miscible, TPU and PLA are biocompatible, and their promising properties are suitable for future applications in tracheal tissue engineering.
Recently, surface engineered biomaterials through surface modification are extensively investigated due to its potential to enhance cellular homing and migration which contributes to a successful drug delivery process. This study is focused on osteoblasts response towards surface engineered using a simple sodium hydroxide (NaOH) hydrolysis and growth factors conjugated poly(lactic acid) (PLA) microspheres. In this study, evaluation of the relationship of NaOH concentration with the molecular weight changes and surface morphology of PLA microspheres specifically wall thickness and porosity prior to in vitro studies was investigated. NaOH hydrolysis of 0.1 M, 0.3 M and 0.5 M were done to introduce hydrophilicity on the PLA prior to conjugation with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Morphology changes showed that higher concentration of NaOH could accelerate the hydrolysis process as the highest wall thickness was observed at 0.5 M NaOH with ~3.52 µm. All surface modified and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres wells enhanced the migration of the cells during wound healing process as wound closure was 100% after 3 days of treatment. Increase in hydrophilicity of the surface engineered and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres provides favorable surface for cellular attachment of osteoblast, which was reflected by positive DAPI staining of the cells' nucleus. Surface modified and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres were also able to enhance the capability of the PLA in facilitating the differentiation process of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into osteogenic lineage since only positive stain was observed on surface engineered and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres. These results indicated that the surface engineered and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres were non-toxic for biological environments and the improved hydrophilicity made them a potential candidate as a drug delivery vehicle as the cells can adhere, attach and proliferate inside it.
An earlier study showed that the behaviour of chitosan-poly(methacrylic acid‑co‑N‑isopropylacrylamide) [chitosan‑p(MAA‑co‑NIPAM)] hydrogels synthesized at different reaction times are affected with regard to their pH and temperature sensitivities. The study was continued in this paper to identify the effects of different reaction times on the degradation, efficiency of rifampicin (Rif) loading and the Rif release profile under two different pH conditions (acidic and basic). The results that were obtained showed that the hydrogel had a faster degradation rate in the acidic condition than in the basic condition, where there was a loss of approximately 50% and 20%, respectively in its original weight within two weeks. The Rif loading efficiency was within 50% and the drug release was controlled by characteristics that were developed beyond the polymerization stages of the synthesis. Therefore, the reaction time for the synthesis of the hydrogel can be considered as a way to control the behaviour of the hydrogel as well as to modify the drug release profile in the chitosan‑p(MAA‑co‑NIPAM) hydrogel.
Combination of bioactive material such as hydroxyapatite (HAp) with antibacterial agents would have great potential to be used as bone implant materials to avert possible bacterial infection that can lead to implant-associated diseases. The present study aimed to develop an antibacterial silver nanoparticle-decorated hydroxyapatite (HAp/AgNPs) nanocomposite using chemical reduction and thermal calcination approaches. In this work, natural HAp that was extracted from chicken bone wastes is used as support matrix for the deposition of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to produce HAp/AgNPs nanocomposite. XRD, FESEM-EDX, HRTEM, and XPS analyses confirmed that spherical AgNPs were successfully synthesized and deposited on the surface of HAp particles, and the amount of AgNPs adhered on the HAp surface increased with increasing AgNO3 concentration used. The synthesized HAp/AgNPs nanocomposites demonstrated strong antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, where the antibacterial efficiency is relied on the amount and size of deposited AgNPs. In addition, the in vitro bioactivity examination in Hank's balanced salt solution showed that more apatite were grown on the surface of HAp/AgNPs nanocomposite when AgNO3 concentration used >1 wt.%. Such nanocomposite with enhanced bioactivity and antibacterial properties emerged as a promising biomaterial to be applied for dentistry and orthopedic implantology.
Carbon can form different allotropes due to its tetravalency. Different forms of carbon such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), carbon nanofibers, graphene, fullerenes, and carbon black can be used as nanofillers in order to enhance the properties of polymer nanocomposites. These carbon nanomaterials are of interest in nanocomposites research and other applications due to their excellent properties, such as high Young's Modulus, tensile strength, electrical conductivity, and specific surface area. However, there are some flaws that can be found in the carbon nanoparticles such as tendency to agglomerate, insoluble in aqueous or organic solvents or being unreactive with the polymer surface. In this study, the aim is to study functionalization in order to rectify some of these shortcomings by attaching different functional groups or particles to the surface of these carbon nanoparticles; this also enables the synthesis of high-performance polymer nanocomposites. The main findings include the effects of functionalization on carbon nanoparticles and the applications of polymer nanocomposites with carbon nanoparticles as nanofillers in the industry. Additionally, the different methods used to produce polymer composites such as in situ polymerization, solution mixing and melt blending are studied, as these methods involve the dispersion of carbon nanofillers within the polymer matrix.
The versatility of polymeric materials as healing agents to prevent any structure failure and their ability to restore their initial mechanical properties has attracted interest from many researchers. Various applications of the self-healing polymeric materials are explored in this paper. The mechanism of self-healing, which includes the extrinsic and intrinsic approaches for each of the applications, is examined. The extrinsic mechanism involves the introduction of external healing agents such as microcapsules and vascular networks into the system. Meanwhile, the intrinsic mechanism refers to the inherent reversibility of the molecular interaction of the polymer matrix, which is triggered by the external stimuli. Both self-healing mechanisms have shown a significant impact on the cracked properties of the damaged sites. This paper also presents the different types of self-healing polymeric materials applied in various applications, which include electronics, coating, aerospace, medicals, and construction fields. It is expected that this review gives a significantly broader idea of self-healing polymeric materials and their healing mechanisms in various types of applications.
Oil palm is an important crop for global vegetable oil production, and is widely grown in the humid tropical regions of Southeast Asia. Projected future climate change may well threaten palm oil production. However, oil palm plantations currently produce large amounts of unutilised biological waste. Oil palm stems - which comprise two-thirds of the waste - are especially relevant because they can contain high levels of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) that can serve as feedstock for biorefineries. The NSC in stem are also considered a potent buffer to source-sink imbalances. In the present study, we monitored stem NSC levels and female reproductive growth. We then applied convergent cross mapping (CCM) to assess the causal relationship between the time-series. Mutual causal relationships between female reproductive growth and the stem NSC were detected, with the exception of a relationship between female reproductive organ growth and starch levels. The NSC levels were also influenced by long-term cumulative temperature, with the relationship showing a seven-month time lag. The dynamic between NSC levels and long-term cumulative rainfall showed a shorter time lag. The lower temperatures and higher cumulative rainfall observed from October to December identify this as a period with maximum stem NSC stocks.
Stem cell-based therapy appears as a promising strategy to induce regeneration of damaged and diseased tissues. However, low survival, poor engraftment and a lack of site-specificity are major drawbacks. Polysaccharide hydrogels can address these issues and offer several advantages as cell delivery vehicles. They have become very popular due to their unique properties such as high-water content, biocompatibility, biodegradability and flexibility. Polysaccharide polymers can be physically or chemically crosslinked to construct biomimetic hydrogels. Their resemblance to living tissues mimics the native three-dimensional extracellular matrix and supports stem cell survival, proliferation and differentiation. Given the intricate nature of communication between hydrogels and stem cells, understanding their interaction is crucial. Cells are incorporated with polysaccharide hydrogels using various microencapsulation techniques, allowing generation of more relevant models and further enhancement of stem cell therapies. This paper provides a comprehensive review of human stem cells and polysaccharide hydrogels most used in regenerative medicine. The recent and advanced stem cell microencapsulation techniques, which include extrusion, emulsion, lithography, microfluidics, superhydrophobic surfaces and bioprinting, are described. This review also discusses current progress in clinical translation of stem-cell encapsulated polysaccharide hydrogels for cell delivery and disease modeling (drug testing and discovery) with focuses on musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiac and cancerous tissues.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are two common risk factors of various life-threatening disease pathogenesis. In recent years, medicinal plants that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities were extensively studied for their potential role in treating and preventing diseases. Spilanthes acmella (S. acmella), which has been traditionally used to treat toothache in Malaysia, contains various active metabolites responsible for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anesthetic bioactivities. These bioactivities were attributed to bioactive compounds, such as phenolic, flavonoids, and alkamides. The review focused on the summarization of in vitro and in vivo experimental reports on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of S. acmella, as well as how they contributed to potential health benefits in lowering the risk of diseases that were related to oxidative stress. The molecular mechanism of S. acmella in reducing oxidative stress and inflammatory targets, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), transcription factors of the nuclear factor-κB family (NF-κB), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways were discussed. Besides, the antioxidant potential of S. acmella was measured by total phenolic content (TPC), total flavonid content (TFC), 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and superoxide anion radical scavenging (SOD) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) assays. This review revealed that S. acmella might have a potential role as a reservoir of bioactive agents contributing to the observed antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and health beneficial effects.