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  1. Soon CF, Tee KS, Youseffi M, Denyer MC
    Biosensors (Basel), 2015 Mar;5(1):13-24.
    PMID: 25808839 DOI: 10.3390/bios5010013
    Cell migration is a key contributor to wound repair. This study presents findings indicating that the liquid crystal based cell traction force transducer (LCTFT) system can be used in conjunction with a bespoke cell traction force mapping (CTFM) software to monitor cell/surface traction forces from quiescent state in real time. In this study, time-lapse photo microscopy allowed cell induced deformations in liquid crystal coated substrates to be monitored and analyzed. The results indicated that the system could be used to monitor the generation of cell/surface forces in an initially quiescent cell, as it migrated over the culture substrate, via multiple points of contact between the cell and the surface. Future application of this system is the real-time assaying of the pharmacological effects of cytokines on the mechanics of cell migration.
  2. Soon CF, Youseffi M, Berends RF, Blagden N, Denyer MC
    Biosens Bioelectron, 2013 Jan 15;39(1):14-20.
    PMID: 22809522 DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2012.06.032
    Keratinocyte traction forces play a crucial role in wound healing. The aim of this study was to develop a novel cell traction force (CTF) transducer system based on cholesteryl ester liquid crystals (LC). Keratinocytes cultured on LC induced linear and isolated deformation lines in the LC surface. As suggested by the fluorescence staining, the deformation lines appeared to correlate with the forces generated by the contraction of circumferential actin filaments which were transmitted to the LC surface via the focal adhesions. Due to the linear viscoelastic behavior of the LC, Hooke's equation was used to quantify the CTFs by associating Young's modulus of LC to the cell induced stresses and biaxial strain in forming the LC deformation. Young's modulus of the LC was profiled by using spherical indentation and determined at approximately 87.1±17.2kPa. A new technique involving cytochalasin-B treatment was used to disrupt the intracellular force generating actin fibers, and consequently the biaxial strain in the LC induced by the cells was determined. Due to the improved sensitivity and spatial resolution (∼1μm) of the LC based CTF transducer, a wide range of CTFs was determined (10-120nN). These were found to be linearly proportional to the length of the deformations. The linear relationship of CTF-deformations was then applied in a bespoke CTF mapping software to estimate CTFs and to map CTF fields. The generated CTF map highlighted distinct distributions and different magnitude of CTFs were revealed for polarized and non-polarized keratinocytes.
  3. Sefat F, Youseffi M, Khaghani SA, Soon CF, Javid F
    Cytokine, 2016 07;83:118-126.
    PMID: 27108397 DOI: 10.1016/j.cyto.2016.04.008
    Articular cartilage is an avascular and flexible connective tissue found in joints. It produces a cushioning effect at the joints and provides low friction to protect the ends of the bones from wear and tear/damage. It has poor repair capacity and any injury can result pain and loss of mobility. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), a cytokine superfamily, regulates cell function, including differentiation and proliferation. Although the function of the TGF-βs in various cell types has been investigated, their function in cartilage repair is as yet not fully understood. The effect of TGF-β3 in biological regulation of primary chondrocyte was investigated in this work. TGF-β3 provided fibroblastic morphology to chondrocytes and therefore overall reduction in cell proliferation was observed. The length of the cells supplemented with TGF-β3 were larger than the cells without TGF-β3 treatment. This was caused by the fibroblast like cells (dedifferentiated chondrocytes) which occupied larger areas compared to cells without TGF-β3 addition. The healing process of the model wound closure assay of chondrocyte multilayer was slowed down by TGF-β3, and this cytokine negatively affected the strength of chondrocyte adhesion to the cell culture surface.
  4. Wong SC, Soon CF, Leong WY, Tee KS
    J Microencapsul, 2016 Mar;33(2):162-71.
    PMID: 26878098 DOI: 10.3109/02652048.2016.1142017
    Microbeads have wide applications in biomedical engineering field that include drug delivery, encapsulation of biomolecules, tissue padding and tissue regeneration. In this paper, we report a simple, yet efficient, flicking technique to produce microcapsules of calcium alginate at a narrow distribution of size. The system consists of an infusion pump and a customised flicker that taps the syringe needle for dispersing microcapsules of sodium alginate that polymerised in the calcium chloride solution. The flow rate of the syringe pump and the velocity of the flicker were studied to achieve a well controlled and tunable size distribution of microbeads ranging from 200 to 400 μm. At a flow rate of 4 μl/min and flicking rate of 80 rpm, a narrow size distribution of microbeads were produced. Via this technique, HaCaT cells were encapsulated in calcium alginate microbeads that grown into microtissues with a size ranging from 100 to 300 μm after two weeks of culture. These microtissues could be potentially useful for pharmacological application.
  5. Khaghani SAB, Akbarova G, Soon CF, Dilbazi G
    Cell Tissue Bank, 2018 Dec;19(4):763-775.
    PMID: 30377863 DOI: 10.1007/s10561-018-9732-z
    Cytokines are extremely potent biomolecules that regulate cellular functions and play multiple roles in initiation and inhibition of disease. These highly specialised macromolecules are actively involved in control of cellular proliferation, apoptosis, cell migration and adhesion. This work, investigates the effect of transforming growth factor-beta2 (TGF-β2) on the biological regulation of chondrocyte and the repair of a created model wound on a multilayer culture system. Also the effect of this cytokine on cell length, proliferation, and cell adhesion has been investigated. Chondrocytes isolated from knee joint of rats and cultured at 4 layers. Each layer consisted of 2 × 105 cells/ml with and without TGF-β2. The expression of mRNA and protein levels of TGF-β receptors and Smad1, 3, 4, and 7 have been analysed by RT-PCR and western blot analysis. The effect of different supplementations in chondrocyte cell proliferation, cell length, adhesion, and wound repair was statistically analysed by One-way ANOVA test. Our results showed that the TGFβ2 regulates mRNA levels of its own receptors, and of Smad3 and Smad7. Also the TGF-β2 caused an increase in chondrocyte cell length, but decreased its proliferation rate and the wound healing process. TGF-β2 also decreased cell adhesion ability to the surface of the culture flask. Since, TGF-β2 increased the cell size, but showed negative effect on cell proliferation and adhesion of CHC, the effect of manipulated TGF-β2 with other growth factors and/or proteins needs to be investigated to finalize the utilization of this growth factor and design of scaffolding in treatment of different types of arthritis.
  6. Khan MA, Nayan N, Shadiullah, Ahmad MK, Soon CF
    Nanomaterials (Basel), 2020 Jul 02;10(7).
    PMID: 32630689 DOI: 10.3390/nano10071298
    In the present work, a facile one-step hydrothermal synthesis of well-defined stabilized CuO nanopetals and its surface study by advanced nanocharacterization techniques for enhanced optical and catalytic properties has been investigated. Characterization by Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis confirmed existence of high crystalline CuO nanopetals with average length and diameter of 1611.96 nm and 650.50 nm, respectively. The nanopetals are monodispersed with a large surface area, controlled morphology, and demonstrate the nanocrystalline nature with a monoclinic structure. The phase purity of the as-synthesized sample was confirmed by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns. A significantly wide absorption up to 800 nm and increased band gap were observed in CuO nanopetals. The valance band (VB) and conduction band (CB) positions at CuO surface are measured to be of +0.7 and -1.03 eV, respectively, using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), which would be very promising for efficient catalytic properties. Furthermore, the obtained CuO nanopetals in the presence of hydrogen peroxide ( H 2 O 2 ) achieved excellent catalytic activities for degradation of methylene blue (MB) under dark, with degradation rate > 99% after 90 min, which is significantly higher than reported in the literature. The enhanced catalytic activity was referred to the controlled morphology of monodispersed CuO nanopetals, co-operative role of H 2 O 2 and energy band structure. This work contributes to a new approach for extensive application opportunities in environmental improvement.
  7. Soon CF, Khaghani SA, Youseffi M, Nayan N, Saim H, Britland S, et al.
    Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces, 2013 Oct 1;110:156-62.
    PMID: 23711786 DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2013.04.012
    Widefield surface plasmon resonance (WSPR) microscopy provides high resolution imaging of interfacial interactions. We report the application of the WSPR imaging system in the study of the interaction between keratinocytes and liquid crystals (LC). Imaging of fixed keratinocytes cultured on gold coated surface plasmon substrates functionalized with a thin film of liquid crystals was performed in air using a 1.45NA objective based system. Focal adhesion of the cells adhered to glass and LC were further studied using immunofluorescence staining of the vinculin. The imaging system was also simulated with 2×2 scattering matrix to investigate the optical reflection of the resonant plasmonic wave via the glass/gold/cell and glass/gold/LC/cell layers. WSPR imaging indicated that keratinocytes are less spread and formed distinct topography of cell-liquid crystal couplings when cultured on liquid crystal coated substrates. The simulation indicates that glass/LC shifted the surface plasmon excitation angle to 75.39° as compared to glass/air interface at 44°. The WSPR microcopy reveals that the cells remodelled their topography of adhesion at different interfaces.
  8. Leong WY, Soon CF, Wong SC, Tee KS, Cheong SC, Gan SH, et al.
    Bioengineering (Basel), 2017 May 14;4(2).
    PMID: 28952522 DOI: 10.3390/bioengineering4020043
    Cells encapsulation is a micro-technology widely applied in cell and tissue research, tissue transplantation, and regenerative medicine. In this paper, we proposed a growth of microtissue model for the human keratinocytes (HaCaT) cell line and an oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cell line (ORL-48) based on a simple aerosol microencapsulation technique. At an extrusion rate of 20 μL/min and air flow rate of 0.3 L/min programmed in the aerosol system, HaCaT and ORL-48 cells in alginate microcapsules were encapsulated in microcapsules with a diameter ranging from 200 to 300 μm. Both cell lines were successfully grown into microtissues in the microcapsules of alginate within 16 days of culture. The microtissues were characterized by using a live/dead cell viability assay, field emission-scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), fluorescence staining, and cell re-plating experiments. The microtissues of both cell types were viable after being extracted from the alginate membrane using alginate lyase. However, the microtissues of HaCaT and ORL-48 demonstrated differences in both nucleus size and morphology. The microtissues with re-associated cells in spheroids are potentially useful as a cell model for pharmacological studies.
  9. Zamhuri A, Lim GP, Ma NL, Tee KS, Soon CF
    Biomed Eng Online, 2021 Apr 01;20(1):33.
    PMID: 33794899 DOI: 10.1186/s12938-021-00873-9
    MXene is a recently emerged multifaceted two-dimensional (2D) material that is made up of surface-modified carbide, providing its flexibility and variable composition. They consist of layers of early transition metals (M), interleaved with n layers of carbon or nitrogen (denoted as X) and terminated with surface functional groups (denoted as Tx/Tz) with a general formula of Mn+1XnTx, where n = 1-3. In general, MXenes possess an exclusive combination of properties, which include, high electrical conductivity, good mechanical stability, and excellent optical properties. MXenes also exhibit good biological properties, with high surface area for drug loading/delivery, good hydrophilicity for biocompatibility, and other electronic-related properties for computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Due to the attractive physicochemical and biocompatibility properties, the novel 2D materials have enticed an uprising research interest for application in biomedicine and biotechnology. Although some potential applications of MXenes in biomedicine have been explored recently, the types of MXene applied in the perspective of biomedical engineering and biomedicine are limited to a few, titanium carbide and tantalum carbide families of MXenes. This review paper aims to provide an overview of the structural organization of MXenes, different top-down and bottom-up approaches for synthesis of MXenes, whether they are fluorine-based or fluorine-free etching methods to produce biocompatible MXenes. MXenes can be further modified to enhance the biodegradability and reduce the cytotoxicity of the material for biosensing, cancer theranostics, drug delivery and bio-imaging applications. The antimicrobial activity of MXene and the mechanism of MXenes in damaging the cell membrane were also discussed. Some challenges for in vivo applications, pitfalls, and future outlooks for the deployment of MXene in biomedical devices were demystified. Overall, this review puts into perspective the current advancements and prospects of MXenes in realizing this 2D nanomaterial as a versatile biological tool.
  10. Khoo SC, Peng WX, Yang Y, Ge SB, Soon CF, Ma NL, et al.
    J Hazard Mater, 2020 12 05;400:123296.
    PMID: 32947701 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123296
    Synthetic adhesives in the plywood industry are usually volatile compounds such as formaldehyde-based chemical which are costly and hazardous to health and the environment. This phenomenon promotes an interest in developing bio-boards without synthetic adhesives. This study proposed a novel application of natural mycelium produced during mushroom cultivation as natural bio-adhesive material that convert spent mushroom substrate (SMS) into high-performance bio-board material. Different types of spent mushroom substrates were compressed with specific designed mould with optimal temperature at 160 °C and 10 mPa for 20 min. The bio-board made from Ganoderma lucidum SMS had the highest internal bonding strength up to 2.51 mPa. This is far above the 0.4-0.8 range of China and US national standards. In addition, the material had high water and fire resistance, high bonding and densified structures despite free of any adhesive chemicals. These properties and the low cost one step procedure show the potential as a zero-waste economy chain for sustainable agricultural practice for waste and remediation.
  11. Lim GP, Soon CF, Ma NL, Morsin M, Nayan N, Ahmad MK, et al.
    Environ Res, 2021 10;201:111592.
    PMID: 34175291 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111592
    MXene based nanomaterial is an uprising two-dimensional material gaining tremendous scientific attentions due to its versatile properties for the applications in electronic devices, power generation, sensors, drug delivery, and biomedicine. However, the cytotoxic effects of MXene still remained a huge concern. Therefore, stringent analysis of biocompatibility of MXene is an essential requirement before introduction to human physiological system. Several in vitro and in vivo toxicological studies have been reported to investigate the interactions between MXenes with living organisms such as microbes, mammalian cells and animal models. The biological response and cytotoxicity reported were dependent on the physicochemical properties of MXene. The biocompatibility and cytotoxicity of MXene were dependent on size, dose, and surface coating. This review demystifies the in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility studies associated with MXene. Various methods proposed to mitigate the cytotoxicity of MXene for in vivo applications were revealed. The machine learning methods were developed to predict the cytotoxicity of experimentally synthesized MXene compounds. Finally, we also discussed the current research gaps of applying MXenes in biomedical interventions.
  12. Morsin M, Nafisah S, Sanudin R, Razali NL, Mahmud F, Soon CF
    PLoS One, 2021;16(11):e0259730.
    PMID: 34748606 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259730
    An anisotropic structure, gold (Au) nanoplates was synthesized using a two-step wet chemical seed mediated growth method (SMGM) directly on the substrate surface. Prior to the synthesis process, poly-l-lysine (PLL) as a cation polymer was used to enhance the yield of grown Au nanoplates. The electrostatic interaction of positive charged by PLL with negative charges from citrate-capped gold nanoseeds contributes to the yield increment. The percentage of PLL was varied from 0% to 10% to study the morphology of Au nanoplates in term of shape, size and surface density. 5% PLL with single layer treatment produce a variety of plate shapes such as hexagonal, flat rod and triangular obtained over the whole substrate surface with the estimated maximum yield up to ca. 48%. The high yield of Au nanoplates exhibit dual plasmonic peaks response that are associated with transverse and longitudinal localized surface plasmon resonance (TSPR and LSPR). Then, the PLL treatment process was repeated twice resulting the increment of Au nanoplates products to ca. 60%. The thin film Au nanoplates was further used as sensing materials in plasmonic sensor for detection of boric acid. The anisotropic Au nanoplates have four sensing parameters being monitored when the medium changes, which are peak position (wavelength shift), intensity of TSPR and LSPR, and the changes on sensing responses. The sensor responses are based on the interaction of light with dielectric properties from surrounding medium. The resonance effect produces by a collection of electron vibration on the Au nanoparticles surface after hit by light are captured as the responses. As a conclusion, it was found that the PLL treatment is capable to promote high yield of Au nanoplates. Moreover, the high yield of the Au nanoplates is an indication as excellent candidate for sensing material in plasmonic sensor.
  13. Soon CF, Omar WI, Berends RF, Nayan N, Basri H, Tee KS, et al.
    Micron, 2014 Jan;56:73-9.
    PMID: 24231674 DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2013.10.011
    This study aimed at examining the biophysical characteristics of human derived keratinocytes (HaCaT) cultured on cholesteryl ester liquid crystals (CELC). CELC was previously shown to improve sensitivity in sensing cell contractions. Characteristics of the cell integrin expressions and presence of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins on the liquid crystals were interrogated using various immunocytochemical techniques. The investigation was followed by characterization of the chemical properties of the liquid crystals (LC) after immersion in cell culture media using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The surface morphology of cells adhered to the LC was studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Consistent with the expressions of the integrins α2, α3 and β1, extracellular matrix proteins (laminin, collagen type IV and fibronectin) were found secreted by the HaCaT onto CELC and these proteins were also secreted by cells cultured on the glass substrates. FTIR analysis of the LC revealed the existence of spectrum assigned to cholesterol and ester moieties that are essential compounds for the metabolizing activities of keratinocytes. The immunostainings indicated that cell adhesion on the LC is mediated by self-secreted ECM proteins. As revealed by the AFM imaging, the constraint in cell membrane spread on the LC leads to the increase in cell surface roughness and thickness of cell membrane. The biophysical expressions of cells on biocompatible CELC suggested that CELC could be a new class of biological relevant material.
  14. Soon CF, Thong KT, Tee KS, Ismail AB, Denyer M, Ahmad MK, et al.
    Biotech Histochem, 2016 May;91(4):283-95.
    PMID: 27008034 DOI: 10.3109/10520295.2016.1158865
    We describe a new scaffold-free three-dimensional (3D) cell culture model using cholesteryl ester based lyotropic liquid crystal (LC) substrates. Keratinocytes were deposited randomly on the LC surface where they self-assembled into 3D microtissues or keratinospheroids. The cell density required to form spheroids was optimized. We investigated cell viability using dead/live cell assays. The adhesion characteristics of cells within the microtissues were determined using histological sectioning and immunofluorescence staining. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to characterize the biochemistry of the keratinospheroids. We found that both cells and microtissues could migrate on the LC surface. The viability study indicated approximately 80% viability of cells in the microtissues up to 20 days of culture. Strong intercellular adhesion was observed in the stratification of the multi-layered microspheroids using field emission-scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and histochemical staining. The cytoskeleton and vinculins of the cells in the microtissues were expressed diffusely, but the microtissues were enriched with lipids and nucleic acids, which indicates close resemblance to the conditions in vivo. The basic 3D culture model based on LC may be used for cell and microtissue migration studies in response to cytochemical treatment.
  15. Soon CF, Tee KS, Wong SC, Nayan N, Sargunan Sundra, Ahmad MK, et al.
    Cytotechnology, 2018 Feb;70(1):13-29.
    PMID: 29189979 DOI: 10.1007/s10616-017-0168-2
    Growing three dimensional (3D) cells is an emerging research in tissue engineering. Biophysical properties of the 3D cells regulate the cells growth, drug diffusion dynamics and gene expressions. Scaffold based or scaffoldless techniques for 3D cell cultures are rarely being compared in terms of the physical features of the microtissues produced. The biophysical properties of the microtissues cultured using scaffold based microencapsulation by flicking and scaffoldless liquid crystal (LC) based techniques were characterized. Flicking technique produced high yield and highly reproducible microtissues of keratinocyte cell lines in alginate microcapsules at approximately 350 ± 12 pieces per culture. However, microtissues grown on the LC substrates yielded at lower quantity of 58 ± 21 pieces per culture. The sizes of the microtissues produced using alginate microcapsules and LC substrates were 250 ± 25 μm and 141 ± 70 μm, respectively. In both techniques, cells remodeled into microtissues via different growth phases and showed good integrity of cells in field-emission scanning microscopy (FE-SEM). Microencapsulation packed the cells in alginate scaffolds of polysaccharides with limited spaces for motility. Whereas, LC substrates allowed the cells to migrate and self-stacking into multilayered structures as revealed by the nuclei stainings. The cells cultured using both techniques were found viable based on the live and dead cell stainings. Stained histological sections showed that both techniques produced cell models that closely replicate the intrinsic physiological conditions. Alginate microcapsulation and LC based techniques produced microtissues containing similar bio-macromolecules but they did not alter the main absorption bands of microtissues as revealed by the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Cell growth, structural organization, morphology and surface structures for 3D microtissues cultured using both techniques appeared to be different and might be suitable for different applications.
  16. Ma NL, Peng W, Soon CF, Noor Hassim MF, Misbah S, Rahmat Z, et al.
    Environ Res, 2021 Feb;193:110405.
    PMID: 33130165 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110405
    The recently emerged coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has been characterised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), is impacting all parts of human society including agriculture, manufacturing, and tertiary sectors involving all service provision industries. This paper aims to give an overview of potential host reservoirs that could cause pandemic outbreak caused by zoonotic transmission. Amongst all, continues surveillance in slaughterhouse for possible pathogens transmission is needed to prevent next pandemic outbreak. This paper also summarizes the potential threats of pandemic to agriculture and aquaculture sector that control almost the total food supply chain and market. The history lesson from the past, emerging and reemerging infectious disease including the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, Influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012 and the recent COVID-19 should give us some clue to improve especially the governance to be more ready for next coming pandemic.
  17. Al-Gheethi A, Ma NL, Rupani PF, Sultana N, Yaakob MA, Mohamed RMSR, et al.
    PMID: 34585345 DOI: 10.1007/s11356-021-16629-w
    Slaughterhouse and wet market wastes are pollutants that have been always neglected by society. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than three billion and nineteen million livestock were consumed worldwide in 2018, which reflects the vast amount and the broad spectrum of the biowastes generated. Slaughterhouse biowastes are a significant volume of biohazards that poses a high risk of contamination to the environment, an outbreak of diseases, and insecure food safety. This work comprehensively reviewed existing biowaste disposal practices and revealed the limitations of technological advancements to eradicate the threat of possible harmful infectious agents from these wastes. Policies, including strict supervision and uniform minimum hygienic regulations at all raw food processing factories, should therefore be tightened to ensure the protection of the food supply. The vast quantity of biowastes also offers a zero-waste potential for a circular economy, but the incorporation of biowaste recycling, including composting, anaerobic digestion, and thermal treatment, nevertheless remains challenging.
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