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  1. Ching KY, Andriotis O, Sengers B, Stolz M
    J Biomater Appl, 2021 Sep;36(3):503-516.
    PMID: 33730922 DOI: 10.1177/08853282211002015
    Towards optimizing the growth of extracellular matrix to produce repair cartilage for healing articular cartilage (AC) defects in joints, scaffold-based tissue engineering approaches have recently become a focus of clinical research. Scaffold-based approaches by electrospinning aim to support the differentiation of chondrocytes by providing an ultrastructure similar to the fibrillar meshwork in native cartilage. In a first step, we demonstrate how the blending of chitosan with poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) allows concentrated chitosan solution to become electrospinnable. The chitosan-based scaffolds share the chemical structure and characteristics of glycosaminoglycans, which are important structural components of the cartilage extracellular matrix. Electrospinning produced nanofibrils of ∼100 nm thickness that are closely mimicking the size of collagen fibrils in human AC. The polymer scaffolds were stabilized in physiological conditions and their stiffness was tuned by introducing the biocompatible natural crosslinker genipin. We produced scaffolds that were crosslinked with 1.0% genipin to obtain values of stiffness that were in between the stiffness of the superficial zone human AC of 600 ± 150 kPa and deep zone AC of 1854 ± 483 kPa, whereas the stiffness of 1.5% genipin crosslinked scaffold was similar to the stiffness of deep zone AC. The scaffolds were degradable, which was indicated by changes in the fibril structure and a decrease in the scaffold stiffness after seven months. Histological and immunohistochemical analysis after three weeks of culture with human articular chondrocytes (HACs) showed a cell viability of over 90% on the scaffolds and new extracellular matrix deposited on the scaffolds.
  2. Kunnan Singh JS, Ching YC, Abdullah LC, Ching KY, Razali S, Gan SN
    Polymers (Basel), 2018 Mar 20;10(3).
    PMID: 30966373 DOI: 10.3390/polym10030338
    This paper investigated the effects of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) micro-particles on mechanical properties of polyoxymethylene (POM) composites. Since PTFE is immiscible with most polymers, the surface was etched using sodium naphthalene salt in tetrahydrofuran to increase its surface energy. The effects of two variables, namely PTFE content and PTFE etch time, on the mechanical properties of the composite were studied. Experiments were designed in accordance to response surface methodology (RSM) using central composite design (CCD). Samples were prepared with different compositions of PTFE (1.7, 4.0, 9.5, 15.0, or 17.3 wt %) at different PTFE etch times (2.9, 5.0, 10.0, 15.0, or 17.1 min). Four mechanical properties of the POM/GF/PTFE composites, that is, strength, stiffness, toughness, and hardness, were characterized as a function of two studied variables. The dependency of these mechanical properties on the PTFE etch conditions was analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Overall desirability, D global index, was computed based on the combination of these mechanical properties for POM/GF/PTFE composites. The D global index was found to be 87.5%, when PTFE content and PTFE etch time were 6.5% and 10 min, respectively. Good correlation between experimental and RSM models was obtained using normal probability plots.
  3. Udenni Gunathilake TMS, Ching YC, Ching KY, Chuah CH, Abdullah LC
    Polymers (Basel), 2017 Apr 29;9(5).
    PMID: 30970839 DOI: 10.3390/polym9050160
    Extensive employment of biomaterials in the areas of biomedical and microbiological applications is considered to be of prime importance. As expected, oil based polymer materials were gradually replaced by natural or synthetic biopolymers due to their well-known intrinsic characteristics such as biodegradability, non-toxicity and biocompatibility. Literature on this subject was found to be expanding, especially in the areas of biomedical and microbiological applications. Introduction of porosity into a biomaterial broadens the scope of applications. In addition, increased porosity can have a beneficial effect for the applications which exploit their exceptional ability of loading, retaining and releasing of fluids. Different applications require a unique set of pore characteristics in the biopolymer matrix. Various pore morphologies have different characteristics and contribute different performances to the biopolymer matrix. Fabrication methods for bio-based porous materials more related to the choice of material. By choosing the appropriate combination of fabrication technique and biomaterial employment, one can obtain tunable pore characteristic to fulfill the requirements of desired application. In our previous review, we described the literature related to biopolymers and fabrication techniques of porous materials. This paper we will focus on the biomedical and microbiological applications of bio-based porous materials.
  4. Sampath Udeni Gunathilake TM, Ching YC, Chuah CH, Illias HA, Ching KY, Singh R, et al.
    Int J Biol Macromol, 2018 Oct 15;118(Pt A):1055-1064.
    PMID: 30001596 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.06.147
    Nanocellulose reinforced chitosan hydrogel was synthesized using chemical crosslinking method for the delivery of curcumin which is a poorly water-soluble drug. Curcumin extracted from the dried rhizomes of Curcuma longa was incorporated to the hydrogel via in situ loading method. A nonionic surfactant (Tween 20) was incorporated into the hydrogel to improve the solubility of curcumin. After the gas foaming process, hydrogel showed large interconnected pore structures. The release studies in gastric medium showed that the cumulative release of curcumin increased from 0.21% ± 0.02% to 54.85% ± 0.77% with the increasing of Tween 20 concentration from 0% to 30% (w/v) after 7.5 h. However, the entrapment efficiency percentage decreased with the addition of Tween 20. The gas foamed hydrogel showed higher initial burst release within the first 120 min compared to hydrogel formed at atmospheric condition. The solubility of curcumin would increase to 3.014 ± 0.041 mg/mL when the Tween 20 concentration increased to 3.2% (w/v) in simulated gastric medium. UV-visible spectra revealed that the drug retained its chemical activity after in vitro release. From these findings, it is believed that the nonionic surfactant incorporated chitosan/nanocellulose hydrogel can provide a platform to overcome current problems associated with curcumin delivery.
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