23 June 2024
Hydrogel Bonding: Chitosan Revolutionizes Medical Adhesion

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Revolutionizing Biomaterials: Hydrogel Bonding with Chitosan

Understanding Hydrogels: Versatile Biomaterials in Biomedical Applications

Hydrogels are emerging as versatile biomaterials that are revolutionizing various biomedical areas due to their unique properties. These water-swollen molecular networks can be customized to mimic the mechanical and chemical characteristics of different organs and tissues. They are capable of interacting within the body and on its outer surfaces without causing harm to delicate human anatomy.

Already employed in clinical settings for drug delivery, ophthalmic devices, wound dressings, tissue engineering, and more, hydrogels have showcased their potential in diverse medical applications. However, a significant challenge in utilizing hydrogels effectively has been the need for rapid and strong bonding between different layers of hydrogels or other polymeric materials.

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Novel Method: Bonding Hydrogels with Chitosan

In a groundbreaking development, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have devised a simple and versatile method to bond layers made of hydrogels and other polymeric materials. This innovative approach involves using a thin film of chitosan, a fibrous, sugar-based material derived from the processed outer skeletons of shellfish.

This new method addresses longstanding challenges in bonding hydrogels quickly and effectively, enabling a wide range of potential applications. By leveraging chitosan films, researchers have successfully tackled medical problems such as local tissue cooling, vascular injury sealing, and prevention of unwanted adhesions between internal body surfaces during surgeries.

Mechanism of Action: Chitosan’s Unique Bonding Properties

Chitosan, a sugary polymer derived from shellfish shells, exhibits remarkable bonding capabilities through chemical and physical interactions. Unlike traditional methods that rely on covalent bonds, chitosan’s sugar strands rapidly absorb water between hydrogel layers, forming multiple bonds through electrostatic interactions and hydrogen bonding. This results in adhesive forces that surpass those achieved by conventional hydrogel bonding techniques.

The researchers demonstrated the versatility of their approach by applying chitosan-modified Tough Adhesives in various medical scenarios. From self-adhering bandages for wound care to insulating tissues during surgeries and enhancing wound sealants, the potential applications of chitosan-bonded hydrogels are vast and promising.

Implications for Regenerative and Surgical Medicine

The integration of chitosan films in bonding hydrogels opens up new avenues in regenerative and surgical medicine. By facilitating the rapid assembly of complex biomaterial structures and offering solutions to longstanding clinical needs, this innovative method holds tremendous promise for improving patient care.

The ability to combine multiple hydrogels quickly, safely, and simply enhances the functionality of existing regenerative medicine approaches, paving the way for advanced treatments and surgical techniques. The findings from this study by Harvard researchers represent a significant advancement in the engineering of biomedical devices, with the potential to address critical challenges in healthcare and benefit a wide range of patients.

Links to additional Resources:

1. www.nature.com/articles/s41557-022-01039-7 2. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0142961222002057 3. www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2022/august/scientists-create-method-to-bond-hydrogels-and-other-polymeric-materials-using-chitosan.html

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Hydrogel, Chitosan, Biomaterials

A hydrogel is a biphasic material, a mixture of porous, permeable solids and at least 10% by weight or volume of interstitial fluid composed completely or mainly by water. In hydrogels the porous permeable solid is a water insoluble three dimensional network of natural or synthetic polymers and a fluid,...
Read more: Hydrogel

Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide composed of randomly distributed β-(1→4)-linked D-glucosamine (deacetylated unit) and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (acetylated unit). It is made by treating the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans with an alkaline substance, such as sodium hydroxide.Chitosan has a number of commercial and possible biomedical uses. It can be...
Read more: Chitosan

A biomaterial is a substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose – either a therapeutic (treat, augment, repair, or replace a tissue function of the body) or a diagnostic one. The corresponding field of study, called biomaterials science or biomaterials engineering, is about...
Read more: Biomaterial

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