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Gels, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2022) – 52 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Lower back pain due to intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a major contributor to global disability, and leads to progressive extracellular matrix degradation, chronic inflammation and pain. Current treatments are inefficient and invasive. Alternative tissue engineering strategies, in which biomaterials are used as injectable carriers of cells and/or biomolecules to restore tissue function and aid regeneration, are being explored. Among these, self-assembling peptide hydrogels represent a promising class of de novo synthetic biomaterials able to merge the strengths of both natural and synthetic hydrogels to achieve higher functionality. In particular, peptide-based hydrogels’ shear-thinning behaviour, high biocompatibility, tissue mimicry and tuneable physiochemical properties make them a versatile 3D tool with potential to tackle and tame IVD degeneration. View this paper
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14 pages, 2524 KiB  
Article
Properties of Cellulose Pulp and Polyurethane Composite Films Fabricated with Curcumin by Using NMMO Ionic Liquid
by Chaehyun Jo, Sam Soo Kim, Balasubramanian Rukmanikrishnan, Srinivasan Ramalingam, Prabakaran D. S. and Jaewoong Lee
Gels 2022, 8(4), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040248 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2157
Abstract
Cellulose pulp (CP), polyurethane (PU), and curcumin-based biocompatible composite films were prepared using a simple cost-effective method. Significant structural and microstructural changes were studied using FT-IR spectroscopy, XRD, and SEM. The 5% and 10% gravimetric losses of the CP/PU/curcumin composite were found to [...] Read more.
Cellulose pulp (CP), polyurethane (PU), and curcumin-based biocompatible composite films were prepared using a simple cost-effective method. Significant structural and microstructural changes were studied using FT-IR spectroscopy, XRD, and SEM. The 5% and 10% gravimetric losses of the CP/PU/curcumin composite were found to be in the range 87.2–182.3 °C and 166.7–249.8 °C, respectively. All the composites exhibited single Tg values in the range 147.4–154.2 °C. The tensile strength of CP was measured to be 93.2 MPa, which dropped to 14.1 MPa for the 1:0.5 CP/PU composite and then steadily increased to 30.5 MPa with further addition of PU. The elongation at the break of the composites decreased from 8.1 to 3.7% with the addition of PU. The addition of PU also improved the water vapor permeability (3.96 × 10−9 to 1.75 × 10−9 g m−1 s−1 Pa−1) and swelling ratio (285 to 202%) of the CP composite films. The CP/PU/curcumin composite exhibited good antioxidant activity and no cytotoxicity when tested on the HaCat cell line. The visual appearance and UV transmittance (86.2–32.9% at 600 nm) of the CP composite films were significantly altered by the incorporation of PU and curcumin. This study demonstrates that CP/PU/curcumin composites can be used for various packaging and biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cellulose-Based Hydrogels)
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12 pages, 862 KiB  
Review
Double-Network Tough Hydrogels: A Brief Review on Achievements and Challenges
by Hai Xin
Gels 2022, 8(4), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040247 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3748
Abstract
This brief review attempts to summarize research advances in the mechanical toughness and structures of double-network (DN) hydrogels. The focus is to provide a critical and concise discussion on the toughening mechanisms, damage recoverability, stress relaxation, and biomedical applications of tough DN hydrogel [...] Read more.
This brief review attempts to summarize research advances in the mechanical toughness and structures of double-network (DN) hydrogels. The focus is to provide a critical and concise discussion on the toughening mechanisms, damage recoverability, stress relaxation, and biomedical applications of tough DN hydrogel systems. Both conventional DN hydrogel with two covalently cross-linked networks and novel DN systems consisting of physical and reversible cross-links are discussed and compared. Covalently cross-linked hydrogels are tough but damage-irreversible. Physically cross-linked hydrogels are damage-recoverable but exhibit mechanical instability, as reflected by stress relaxation tests. This remains one significant challenge to be addressed by future research studies to realize the load-sustaining applications proposed for tough hydrogels. With their special structure and superior mechanical properties, DN hydrogels have great potential for biomedical applications, and many DN systems are now fabricated with 3D printing techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications 2.0)
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15 pages, 3515 KiB  
Article
Graphene Oxide-Reinforced Alginate Hydrogel for Controlled Release of Local Anesthetics: Synthesis, Characterization, and Release Studies
by Cuong Hung Luu, Giang Nguyen, Thanh-Tuyen Le, Thanh-Mai Ngoc Nguyen, V. H. Giang Phan, Mohanapriya Murugesan, Ramya Mathiyalagan, Lu Jing, Gopinathan Janarthanan, Deok Chun Yang, Yi Li and Thavasyappan Thambi
Gels 2022, 8(4), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040246 - 16 Apr 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5487
Abstract
In pain relief, lidocaine has gained more attention as a local anesthetic. However, there are several side effects that limit the use of local anesthetics. Therefore, it is hypothesized that a hydrogel system with facile design can be used for prolonged release of [...] Read more.
In pain relief, lidocaine has gained more attention as a local anesthetic. However, there are several side effects that limit the use of local anesthetics. Therefore, it is hypothesized that a hydrogel system with facile design can be used for prolonged release of lidocaine. In this study, we developed a formulation comprises of sodium alginate (SA) and graphene oxide (GO) to prolong the release of lidocaine. The gelation was induced by physically crosslinking the alginate with Ca2+ ions. The formation of blank SA and GO-reinforced SA hydrogels was investigated with different concentration of Ca2+ ions. The controlled release of lidocaine hydrochloride (LH) on both hydrogel systems was studied in PBS solution. The GO-reinforced SA hydrogels exhibited more sustained release than SA hydrogels without GO. In vitro biocompatibility test in L929 fibroblast cells confirmed the non-toxic property of hydrogels. Furthermore, to prove the in-situ gelation and biodegradability of hydrogels the hydrogels were injected on mice model and confirmed the stable gel formation. The hydrogels implanted onto the subcutaneous tissue of hydrogels retained over one week. These results indicate that LH-loaded GO-reinforced SA hydrogel can be a potential biomaterial for controlled release of local anesthetics. Full article
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21 pages, 6289 KiB  
Article
Novel Formulation of Fusidic Acid Incorporated into a Myrrh-Oil-Based Nanoemulgel for the Enhancement of Skin Bacterial Infection Treatment
by Mervt M. Almostafa, Heba S. Elsewedy, Tamer M. Shehata and Wafaa E. Soliman
Gels 2022, 8(4), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040245 - 15 Apr 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2835
Abstract
Fusidic acid (FA) is renowned as an effective bacteriostatic agent obtained from the fungus Fusidium coccineum, used for treating various eye and skin disorders. The objective of the present study was to develop, characterize, and evaluate the antibacterial activity of a novel FA [...] Read more.
Fusidic acid (FA) is renowned as an effective bacteriostatic agent obtained from the fungus Fusidium coccineum, used for treating various eye and skin disorders. The objective of the present study was to develop, characterize, and evaluate the antibacterial activity of a novel FA nanoemulgel for topical skin application. Primarily, various fusidic acid nanoemulsion formulations were fabricated using different concentrations of myrrh essential oil, Tween 80 as a surfactant, and Transcutol® P as a co-surfactant. A Box–Behnken design was employed to select the optimized FA nanoemulsion formulation, based on the evaluated particle size and % of in vitro release as dependent variables. The optimized formula was incorporated within a hydrogel to obtain an FA nanoemulgel (FA-NEG) preparation. The formulated FA-NEG was evaluated for its visual appearance, pH, viscosity, and spreadability, compared to its corresponding prepared fusidic acid gel. In vitro release, kinetic study, and ex vivo drug permeation were implemented, followed by formulation stability testing. The FA-NEG exhibited a smooth and homogeneous appearance, pH value (6.61), viscosity (25,265 cP), and spreadability (33.6 mm), which were all good characteristics for appropriate topical application. A total of 59.3% of FA was released from the FA-NEG after 3 h. The ex vivo skin permeability of the FA-NEG was significantly enhanced by 3.10 ± 0.13-fold, showing SSTF of 111.2 ± 4.5 µg/cm2·h when compared to other formulations under investigation (p < 0.05). No irritation was observed upon applying the FA-NEG to animal skin. Eventually, it was revealed that the FA-NEG displayed improved antibacterial activity against a wide variety of bacteria when compared to its corresponding FA gel and marketed cream, indicating the prospective antibacterial effect of myrrh essential oil. In conclusion, the recommended formulation offers a promising antibacterial approach for skin infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogel Delivery Systems for Biomedical Applications)
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12 pages, 2116 KiB  
Article
A Supramolecular Hydrogel Enabled by the Synergy of Hydrophobic Interaction and Quadruple Hydrogen Bonding
by Liangmei Lu, Wen Zhou, Zhuzuan Chen, Yang Hu, Yu Yang, Guangzhao Zhang and Zhuohong Yang
Gels 2022, 8(4), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040244 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3072
Abstract
The increasing preference for minimally invasive surgery requires novel soft materials that are injectable, with rapid self-healing abilities, and biocompatible. Here, by utilizing the synergetic effect of hydrophobic interaction and quadruple hydrogen bonding, an injectable supramolecular hydrogel with excellent self-healing ability was synthesized. [...] Read more.
The increasing preference for minimally invasive surgery requires novel soft materials that are injectable, with rapid self-healing abilities, and biocompatible. Here, by utilizing the synergetic effect of hydrophobic interaction and quadruple hydrogen bonding, an injectable supramolecular hydrogel with excellent self-healing ability was synthesized. A unique ABA triblock copolymer was designed containing a central poly(ethylene oxide) block and terminal poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) block, with ureido pyrimidinone (UPy) moieties randomly incorporated (termed MA-UPy-PEO-UPy-MA). The PMMA block could offer a hydrophobic microenvironment for UPy moieties in water and thus boost the corresponding quadruple hydrogen bonding interaction of Upy–Upy dimers. Owing to the synergetic effect of hydrophobicity and quadruple hydrogen bonding interaction, the obtained MA-UPy-PEO-UPy-MA hydrogel exhibited excellent self-healing properties, and injectable capability, as well as superior mechanical strength, and therefore, it holds great promise in tissue engineering applications, including in cell support and drug release. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Healing Hydrogels for Applications in Regenerative Medicine)
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16 pages, 3990 KiB  
Article
Valorization of Cattle Slaughtering Industry By-Products: Modification of the Functional Properties and Structural Characteristics of Cowhide Gelatin Induced by High Hydrostatic Pressure
by Yanlei Gao, Liyuan Wang, Yi Qiu, Xiaona Fan, Li Zhang and Qunli Yu
Gels 2022, 8(4), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040243 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2017
Abstract
This study investigates the effects of different pressures (200, 250, 300, 350, and 400 MPa) and durations (5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 min) on the functional properties, secondary structure, and intermolecular forces of cowhide gelatin. Our results show that high hydrostatic pressure [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effects of different pressures (200, 250, 300, 350, and 400 MPa) and durations (5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 min) on the functional properties, secondary structure, and intermolecular forces of cowhide gelatin. Our results show that high hydrostatic pressure significantly affected the two, three, and four-level structures of gelatin and caused the contents of the α-helix and β-turn to decrease by 68.86% and 78.58%, respectively (p < 0.05). In particular, the gelatin at 300 MPa for 15 min had the highest gel strength, emulsification, solubility, and foaming of all the treatment conditions under study. The analysis of the surface hydrophobicity, sulfhydryl content, zeta potential, and Raman spectroscopy shows that at a pressure of 300 MPa (15 min), the hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions between collagen molecules are strongly destroyed, leading to changes in the tertiary and quaternary conformation of the protein and unfolding, with the electrostatic repulsion between protein particles making the decentralized state stable. In conclusion, moderate pressure and time can significantly improve the functional and structural properties of collagen, which provides theoretical support and guidance for realizing the high-value utilization of cowhide. Full article
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15 pages, 4401 KiB  
Article
Hybrid Epoxy-Alkyl Sol–Gel Coatings Reinforced with SiO2 Nanoparticles for Corrosion Protection of Anodized AZ31B Mg Alloy
by Emilia Merino, Alicia Durán, Silvia Ceré and Yolanda Castro
Gels 2022, 8(4), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040242 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2099
Abstract
AZ31B Mg alloys were anodized at different potentials using an alkaline electrolyte. Then, an epoxy-alkyl silane sol reinforced with SiO2 nanoparticles was prepared by sol–gel and deposited on top of the optimized anodic layers. 1-Methyl imidazole was added to the sol to [...] Read more.
AZ31B Mg alloys were anodized at different potentials using an alkaline electrolyte. Then, an epoxy-alkyl silane sol reinforced with SiO2 nanoparticles was prepared by sol–gel and deposited on top of the optimized anodic layers. 1-Methyl imidazole was added to the sol to promote a partial epoxy ring aperture and improve the condensation degree of the inorganic network. The results showed the curing temperature affects the inorganic polycondensation of the organic-inorganic network; this effect was analyzed by 29Si and 13C solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy in 3.5 wt% NaCl solution revealed that the corrosion resistance is enhanced by the anodized process obtained for Mg alloy anodized at 100 V/2 min. However, a quick deterioration of the oxide film with immersion time was evident, showing a reduction of the protection efficiency (ηE%) of 76.5% after 16 h/immersion. The deposition of an epoxy-alkyl coating improved the ηE% up to 98.6% after 72 h/immersion. The proposed hybrid coating used for post-sealing the porous anodized Mg alloy looks like a good alternative protective barrier to control the corrosion process of Mg alloys. A suitable compromise between cross-linking network and curing temperature is necessary to obtain a good barrier coating. Full article
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16 pages, 3336 KiB  
Article
Development and Optimization of Hyaluronic Acid-Poloxamer In-Situ Gel Loaded with Voriconazole Cubosomes for Enhancement of Activity against Ocular Fungal Infection
by Nabil A. Alhakamy, Khaled M. Hosny, Waleed Y. Rizg, Bayan A. Eshmawi, Moutaz Y. Badr, Awaji Y. Safhi and Samar S. A. Murshid
Gels 2022, 8(4), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040241 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2574
Abstract
Fungal eye infections are largely disseminated, especially in developing countries where they may leave over half a million people blind per year. The current study aims to boost the voriconazole antifungal efficiency via loading it as cubosomes (VZ-Cub) into hyaluronic acid and poloxamer-based [...] Read more.
Fungal eye infections are largely disseminated, especially in developing countries where they may leave over half a million people blind per year. The current study aims to boost the voriconazole antifungal efficiency via loading it as cubosomes (VZ-Cub) into hyaluronic acid and poloxamer-based ocular in situ gel. VZ-Cub were fabricated applying Box-Behnken design and employing phytantriol, poloxamer F127, and VZ amounts as independent variables. The produced nano vesicles were evaluated for the dependent variables of particle size (PS), entrapment efficiency (EE%), and transcorneal steady-state flux (Jss) of the VZ, and, the obtained optimal VZ-Cub was loaded into an in situ gel base to enhance its ocular residence time. The in situ gel formulation was tested for its gelation temperature, drug release behavior, transcorneal permeation effects, and antifungal activity. The optimized VZ-Cub consisted of 100 mg of phytantriol, 60 mg of poloxamer F127, and 21 mg of VZ. This formulation led to a minimum PS of 71 nm, an EE% of 66%, Jss value of 6.5 µg/(cm2·min), and stability index of 94 ± 2%. The optimized VZ-Cub-loaded in situ gel released 84% VZ after 12 h and yielded a 4.5-fold increase in drug permeation compared with the VZ aqueous dispersion. The antifungal activity, which was obtained by measuring the fungal growth inhibition zones, revealed that the VZ-Cub-loaded in situ gel formulation had a 3.89-fold increase in antifungal activity compared with the VZ dispersion. In summary, an ocular in situ gel loaded with VZ-Cub could be an effective novel nano-paradigm with enhanced transcorneal permeation and antifungal properties. Full article
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20 pages, 14638 KiB  
Article
Chitosan-Based Polyelectrolyte Complex Cryogels with Elasticity, Toughness and Delivery of Curcumin Engineered by Polyions Pair and Cryostructuration Steps
by Ecaterina Stela Dragan, Maria Valentina Dinu and Claudiu Augustin Ghiorghita
Gels 2022, 8(4), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040240 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2395
Abstract
Chitosan (CS)-based drug delivery systems (DDSs) are often stabilized by chemical cross-linking. A much more friendly approach to deliver drugs in a controlled manner is represented by polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) physically stabilized by spontaneous interactions between CS and natural or synthetic biocompatible polyanions. [...] Read more.
Chitosan (CS)-based drug delivery systems (DDSs) are often stabilized by chemical cross-linking. A much more friendly approach to deliver drugs in a controlled manner is represented by polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) physically stabilized by spontaneous interactions between CS and natural or synthetic biocompatible polyanions. PECs with tunable structures, morphologies, and mechanical properties were fabricated in this paper by an innovative and sustainable strategy. Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) or poly(2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonate sodium salt) were used as aqueous solutions, while CS microparticles were evenly dispersed in the polyanion solution, at pH 6.5, where CS was not soluble. Cryostructuration of the dispersion in two steps (5 min at −196 °C, and 24 h at −18 °C), and freeze-drying at −55 °C, 48 h, conducted to pre-PEC cryogels. Next step was rearrangement of complementary polyions and the complex formation inside the pore walls of cryogels by exposure of the pre-PECs at a source of H+. PEC cryogels with impressive elasticity and toughness were engineered in this study by multiple-cryostructuration steps using CMC as polyanion with a molar mass of 250 kDa and an optimum concentration of polyanion and polycation. The performances of PEC cryogels in sustained delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs such as curcumin were demonstrated. Full article
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42 pages, 7564 KiB  
Review
A Comprehensive Assessment on the Pivotal Role of Hydrogels in Scaffold-Based Bioprinting
by Matangi Parimala Chelvi Ratnamani, Xinping Zhang and Hongjun Wang
Gels 2022, 8(4), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040239 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3476
Abstract
The past a few decades have seen exponential growth in the field of regenerative medicine. What began as extirpative (complete tissue or organ removal), with little regard to the effects of tissue loss and/or disfigurement, has evolved towards fabricating engineered tissues using personalized [...] Read more.
The past a few decades have seen exponential growth in the field of regenerative medicine. What began as extirpative (complete tissue or organ removal), with little regard to the effects of tissue loss and/or disfigurement, has evolved towards fabricating engineered tissues using personalized living cells (e.g., stem cells), and customizing a matrix or structural organization to support and guide tissue development. Biofabrication, largely accomplished through three-dimensional (3D) printing technology, provides precise, controlled, and layered assemblies of cells and biomaterials, emulating the heterogenous microenvironment of the in vivo tissue architecture. This review provides a concise framework for the bio-manufacturing process and addresses the contributions of hydrogels to biological modeling. The versatility of hydrogels in bioprinting is detailed along with an extensive elaboration of their physical, mechanical, and biological properties, as well as their assets and limitations in bioprinting. The scope of various hydrogels in tissue formation has been discussed through the case studies of biofabricated 3D constructs in order to provide the readers with a glimpse into the barrier-breaking accomplishments of biomedical sciences. In the end, the restraints of bioprinting itself are discussed, accompanied with the identification of available engineering strategies to overcome them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gels Horizons: From Science to Smart Materials)
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14 pages, 2794 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances in Hydrogel-Based Sensors Responding to Ionizing Radiation
by Ping Zhang, Li Jiang, Hong Chen and Liang Hu
Gels 2022, 8(4), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040238 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3013
Abstract
Ionizing radiation and its applications are widely spread throughout life. Similar to many other things, both the positive and negative aspects of ionizing radiation should always be kept in mind. For example, a proper radiation dose can be delivered to tumor tissue to [...] Read more.
Ionizing radiation and its applications are widely spread throughout life. Similar to many other things, both the positive and negative aspects of ionizing radiation should always be kept in mind. For example, a proper radiation dose can be delivered to tumor tissue to kill malignant cells in radiotherapy. On the other hand, exceeding this dose can damage the normal tissues of a human organism. Therefore, the application of sensors for measuring ionizing radiation doses is of utmost importance in many fields, especially in cancer therapy. Traditional dosimeters, such as ionization chambers, silicon diodes and thermoluminescence dosimeters, are widely used. However, they have limitations in certain aspects. Hydrogel-based sensors (or dosimeters) for measuring ionizing radiation doses attract extensive attention for decades due to their equivalence to living tissue and biocompatibility. In this review, we catalog hydrogel-based dosimeters such as polymer, Fricke, radio-chromic, radio-fluorescence and NPs-embedded dosimeters. Most of them demonstrate desirable linear response and sensitivity regardless of energy and dose rate of ionizing radiation. We aim to review these dosimeters and their potential applications in radiotherapy as well as to stimulate a joint work of the experts from different fields such as materials science, chemistry, cancer therapy, radiobiology and nuclear science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gel Dosimetry)
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29 pages, 12823 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Tuna Gelatin-Based Hydrogels as a Matrix for Drug Delivery
by Carolina Hermida-Merino, David Cabaleiro, Luis Lugo, Jesus Valcarcel, Jose Antonio Vázquez, Ivan Bravo, Alessandro Longo, Georges Salloum-Abou-Jaoude, Eduardo Solano, Carlos Gracia-Fernández, Manuel M. Piñeiro and Daniel Hermida-Merino
Gels 2022, 8(4), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040237 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3490
Abstract
The skin of yellowfin tuna is one of the fishery industry solid residues with the greatest potential to add extra value to its circular economy that remains yet unexploited. Particularly, the high collagen content of fish skin allows generating gelatin by hydrolysis, which [...] Read more.
The skin of yellowfin tuna is one of the fishery industry solid residues with the greatest potential to add extra value to its circular economy that remains yet unexploited. Particularly, the high collagen content of fish skin allows generating gelatin by hydrolysis, which is ideal for forming hydrogels due to its biocompatibility and gelling capability. Hydrogels have been used as drug carriers for local administration due to their mechanical properties and drug loading capacity. Herein, novel tuna gelatin hydrogels were designed as drug vehicles with two structurally different antitumoral model compounds such as Doxorubicin and Crocin to be administrated locally in tissues with complex human anatomies after surgical resection. The characterization by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) of purified gelatin confirmed their heterogeneity composition, exhibiting three major bands that correspond to the β and α chains along with high molecular weight species. In addition, the Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectra of gelatin probed the secondary structure of the gelatin showing the simultaneous existence of α helix, β sheet, and random coil structures. Morphological studies at different length scales were performed by a multi-technique approach using SAXS/WAXS, AFM and cryo-SEM that revealed the porous network formed by the interaction of gelatin planar aggregates. In addition, the sol-gel transition, as well as the gelation point and the hydrogel strength, were studied using dynamic rheology and differential scanning calorimetry. Likewise, the loading and release profiles followed by UV-visible spectroscopy indicated that the novel gelatin hydrogels improve the drug release of Doxorubicin and Crocin in a sustained fashion, indicating the structure-function importance in the material composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Hydrogel in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine)
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16 pages, 5425 KiB  
Article
A Time-Dependent Hierarchical Model for Elastic and Inelastic Scattering Data Analysis of Aerogels and Similar Soft Materials
by Cedric J. Gommes
Gels 2022, 8(4), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040236 - 12 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1628
Abstract
Soft nanomaterials like aerogels are subject to thermal fluctuations, so that their structure randomly fluctuates with time. Neutron elastic and inelastic scattering experiments provide unique structural and dynamic information on such systems with nanometer and nanosecond resolution. The data, however, come in the [...] Read more.
Soft nanomaterials like aerogels are subject to thermal fluctuations, so that their structure randomly fluctuates with time. Neutron elastic and inelastic scattering experiments provide unique structural and dynamic information on such systems with nanometer and nanosecond resolution. The data, however, come in the form of space- and time-correlation functions, and models are required to convert them into time-dependent structures. We present here a general time-dependent stochastic model of hierarchical structures, with scale-invariant fractals as a particular case, which enables one to jointly analyze elastic and inelastic scattering data. In order to describe thermal fluctuations, the model builds on time-dependent generalisations of the Boolean model of penetrable spheres, whereby each sphere is allowed to move either ballistically or diffusively. Analytical expressions are obtained for the correlation functions, which can be used for data fitting. The model is then used to jointly analyze previously published small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and neutron spin-echo (NSE) data measured on silica aerogels. In addition to structural differences, the approach provides insight into the different scale-dependent mobility of the aggregates that make up the aerogels, in relation with their different connectivities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Gel-Based Materials 2.0)
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20 pages, 2996 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of a Novel Mucoadhesive Carvedilol Nanosponge: A Promising Platform for Buccal Anti-Hypertensive Delivery
by El-Sayed Khafagy, Amr S. Abu Lila, Nahed Mohamed Sallam, Rania Abdel-Basset Sanad, Mahgoub Mohamed Ahmed, Mamdouh Mostafa Ghorab, Hadil Faris Alotaibi, Ahmed Alalaiwe, Mohammed F. Aldawsari, Saad M. Alshahrani, Abdullah Alshetaili, Bjad K. Almutairy, Ahmed Al Saqr and Shadeed Gad
Gels 2022, 8(4), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040235 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2647
Abstract
Carvedilol (CRV) is a non-selective third generation beta-blocker used to treat hypertension, congestive heart failure and angina pectoris. Oral administration of CRV showed poor bioavailability (25%), which might be ascribed to its extensive first-pass metabolism. Buccal delivery is known to boost drugs bioavailability. [...] Read more.
Carvedilol (CRV) is a non-selective third generation beta-blocker used to treat hypertension, congestive heart failure and angina pectoris. Oral administration of CRV showed poor bioavailability (25%), which might be ascribed to its extensive first-pass metabolism. Buccal delivery is known to boost drugs bioavailability. The aim of this study is to investigate the efficacy of bilosomes-based mucoadhesive carvedilol nanosponge for enhancing the oral bioavailability of CRV. The bilosomes were prepared, optimized and characterized for particle size, surface morphology, encapsulation efficiency and ex-vivo permeation studies. Then, the optimized formula was incorporated into a carboxymethyl cellulose/hydroxypropyl cellulose (CMC/HPC) composite mixture to obtain buccal nanosponge enriched with CRV bilosomes. The optimized bilosome formula (BLS9), showing minimum vesicle size, maximum entrapment, and highest cumulative in vitro release, exhibited a spherical shape with 217.2 nm in diameter, 87.13% entrapment efficiency, and sustained drug release for up to 24 h. In addition, ex-vivo drug permeation across sheep buccal mucosa revealed enhanced drug permeation with bilosomal formulations, compared to aqueous drug suspension. Consecutively, BLS9 was incorporated in a CMC/HPC gel and lyophilized for 24 h to obtain bilosomal nanosponge to enhance CRV buccal delivery. Morphological analysis of the prepared nanosponge revealed improved swelling with a porosity of 67.58%. The in vivo assessment of rats indicated that CRV-loaded nanosponge efficiently enhanced systolic/diastolic blood pressure, decreased elevated oxidative stress, improved lipid profile and exhibited a potent cardio-protective effect. Collectively, bilosomal nanosponge might represent a plausible nanovehicle for buccal delivery of CRV for effective management of hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liposomal and Ethosomal Gels: From Design to Application)
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16 pages, 3691 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Interaction and Binding Efficiency of Tetracaine Hydrochloride (Anesthetic Drug) with Anionic Surfactants in the Presence of NaCl Solution Using Surface Tension and UV–Visible Spectroscopic Methods
by Naved Azum, Malik Abdul Rub, Anish Khan, Maha M. Alotaibi and Abdullah M. Asiri
Gels 2022, 8(4), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040234 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2407
Abstract
Surfactants are ubiquitous materials that are used in diverse formulations of various products. For instance, they improve the formulation of gel by improving its wetting and rheological properties. Here, we describe the effects of anionic surfactants on an anesthetic drug, tetracaine hydrochloride (TCH), [...] Read more.
Surfactants are ubiquitous materials that are used in diverse formulations of various products. For instance, they improve the formulation of gel by improving its wetting and rheological properties. Here, we describe the effects of anionic surfactants on an anesthetic drug, tetracaine hydrochloride (TCH), in NaCl solution with tensiometry and UV–visible techniques. Various micellar, interfacial, and thermodynamic parameters were estimated. The outputs were examined by using different theoretical models to attain a profound knowledge of drug–surfactant mixtures. The presence of attractive interactions among drug and surfactant monomers (synergism) in mixed micelle was inferred. However, it was found that sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) showed greater interactions with the drug in comparison to sodium lauryl sarcosine (SLS). The binding of the drug with surfactants was monitored with a spectroscopic technique (UV–visible spectra). The results of this study could help optimize the compositions of these mixed aggregates and find the synergism between monomers of different used amphiphiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Composite Gels)
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14 pages, 3431 KiB  
Article
Circular Economy of Coal Fly Ash and Silica Geothermal for Green Geopolymer: Characteristic and Kinetic Study
by Himawan Tri Bayu Murti Petrus, Muhammad Olvianas, Muhammad Faiz Shafiyurrahman, I Gusti Agung Arvin Nanda Pratama, Siti Nurul Aisyiyah Jenie, Widi Astuti, Muhammad Istiawan Nurpratama, Januarti Jaya Ekaputri and Ferian Anggara
Gels 2022, 8(4), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040233 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3049
Abstract
The study of geopolymers has become an interesting concern for many scientists, especially in the infrastructure sector, due to having inherently environmentally friendly properties and fewer energy requirements in production processes. Geopolymer attracts many scientists to develop practical synthesis methods, useful in industrial-scale [...] Read more.
The study of geopolymers has become an interesting concern for many scientists, especially in the infrastructure sector, due to having inherently environmentally friendly properties and fewer energy requirements in production processes. Geopolymer attracts many scientists to develop practical synthesis methods, useful in industrial-scale applications as supplementary material for concrete. This study investigates the geopolymerization of fly ash and geothermal silica-based dry activator. The dry activator was synthesized between NaOH and silica geothermal sludge through the calcination process. Then, the geopolymer mortar was produced by mixing the fly ash and dry activator with a 4:1 (wt./wt.) ratio. After mixing homogeneously and forming a paste, the casted paste moved on to the drying process, with temperature variations of 30, 60, and 90 °C and curing times of 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 21, 28 days. The compressive strength test was carried out at each curing time to determine the geopolymer’s strength evolution and simulate the reaction’s kinetics. In addition, ATR-FTIR spectroscopy was also used to observe aluminosilicate bonds’ formation. The higher the temperature, the higher the compressive strength value, reaching 22.7 MPa at 90 °C. A Third-order model was found to have the highest R2 value of 0.92, with the collision frequency and activation energy values of 1.1171 day−1 and 3.8336 kJ/mol, respectively. The utilization of coal fly ash and silica geothermal sludge as a dry activator is, indeed, an approach to realize the circular economy in electrical power generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geopolymer Gels for Next-Generation Construction)
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17 pages, 2723 KiB  
Review
Targeted Cancer Therapy via pH-Functionalized Nanoparticles: A Scoping Review of Methods and Outcomes
by Stefan Morarasu, Bianca Codrina Morarasu, Razvan Ghiarasim, Adina Coroaba, Crina Tiron, Radu Iliescu and Gabriel-Mihail Dimofte
Gels 2022, 8(4), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040232 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2544
Abstract
(1) Background: In recent years, several studies have described various and heterogenous methods to sensitize nanoparticles (NPs) to pH changes; therefore, in this current scoping review, we aimed to map current protocols for pH functionalization of NPs and analyze the outcomes of drug-loaded [...] Read more.
(1) Background: In recent years, several studies have described various and heterogenous methods to sensitize nanoparticles (NPs) to pH changes; therefore, in this current scoping review, we aimed to map current protocols for pH functionalization of NPs and analyze the outcomes of drug-loaded pH-functionalized NPs (pH-NPs) when delivered in vivo in tumoral tissue. (2) Methods: A systematic search of the PubMed database was performed for all published studies relating to in vivo models of anti-tumor drug delivery via pH-responsive NPs. Data on the type of NPs, the pH sensitization method, the in vivo model, the tumor cell line, the type and name of drug for targeted therapy, the type of in vivo imaging, and the method of delivery and outcomes were extracted in a separate database. (3) Results: One hundred and twenty eligible manuscripts were included. Interestingly, 45.8% of studies (n = 55) used polymers to construct nanoparticles, while others used other types, i.e., mesoporous silica (n = 15), metal (n = 8), lipids (n = 12), etc. The mean acidic pH value used in the current literature is 5.7. When exposed to in vitro acidic environment, without exception, pH-NPs released drugs inversely proportional to the pH value. pH-NPs showed an increase in tumor regression compared to controls, suggesting better targeted drug release. (4) Conclusions: pH-NPs were shown to improve drug delivery and enhance antitumoral effects in various experimental malignant cell lines. Full article
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19 pages, 3005 KiB  
Article
Design and Comparative Evaluation of Vancomycin HCl-Loaded Rosin-Based In Situ Forming Gel and Microparticles
by Tiraniti Chuenbarn, Jitnapa Sirirak, Sarun Tuntarawongsa, Siriporn Okonogi and Thawatchai Phaechamud
Gels 2022, 8(4), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040231 - 8 Apr 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2591
Abstract
Vancomycin hydrochloride (HCl) is a glycopeptide antibiotic used to treat serious or life-threatening infections, and it reduces plaque scores and gingivitis in periodontal patients. In this study, vancomycin HCl was incorporated into rosin in situ forming gel (ISG) and rosin in situ forming [...] Read more.
Vancomycin hydrochloride (HCl) is a glycopeptide antibiotic used to treat serious or life-threatening infections, and it reduces plaque scores and gingivitis in periodontal patients. In this study, vancomycin HCl was incorporated into rosin in situ forming gel (ISG) and rosin in situ forming microparticles (ISM) to generate a local drug delivery system to treat periodontal disease. The physical properties of the ISG and ISM were measured, including pH, viscosity, injectability, adhesion properties, in-vitro transformation, and drug release. Moreover, the effectiveness of antimicrobial activity was tested using the agar-cup diffusion method against Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Escherichia coli. Vancomycin HCl-loaded rosin-based ISG and ISM had a pH value in the range of 5.02–6.48 and exhibited the ease of injection with an injection force of less than 20 N. Additionally, the lubricity effect of the external oil phase of ISM promoted less work of injection than ISG and 40–60% rosin-based ISM showed good emulsion stability. The droplet size of emulsions containing 40%, 50%, and 60% rosin was 98.48 ± 16.11, 125.55 ± 4.75, and 137.80 ± 16.8 µm, respectively. Their obtained microparticles were significantly smaller in diameter, 78.63 ± 12.97, 93.81 ± 10.53, and 118.32 ± 15.61 µm, respectively, because the particles shrank due to the solvent loss from solvent exchange. Moreover, increasing the concentration of rosin increased the size of microparticles. After phase transformation, all formulations had better plasticity properties than elasticity; therefore, they could easily adapt to the specific shape of a patient’s gum cavity. Both developed ISG and ISM presented inhibition zones against S. mutans and P. gingivalis, with ISG presenting significantly more effectively against these two microbes (p < 0.05). The vancomycin HCl-loaded rosin ISG and ISM delayed drug release for 7 days with efficient antimicrobial activities; thus, they exhibit potential as the drug delivery systems for periodontitis treatment. Full article
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33 pages, 6829 KiB  
Article
Parallel-Disk Viscometry of a Viscoplastic Hydrogel: Yield Stress and Other Parameters of Shear Viscosity and Wall Slip
by Li Quan and Dilhan M. Kalyon
Gels 2022, 8(4), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040230 - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2465
Abstract
The rheology, i.e., the flow and deformation properties, of hydrogels is generally a very important consideration for their functionality. However, the accurate characterization of their rheological material functions is handicapped by their ubiquitous viscoplasticity and associated wall slip behavior. Here a parallel-disk viscometer [...] Read more.
The rheology, i.e., the flow and deformation properties, of hydrogels is generally a very important consideration for their functionality. However, the accurate characterization of their rheological material functions is handicapped by their ubiquitous viscoplasticity and associated wall slip behavior. Here a parallel-disk viscometer was used to characterize the shear viscosity and wall slip behavior of a crosslinked poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) carbomer hydrogel (specifically Carbopol® at 0.12% by weight in water). It was demonstrated that parallel-disk viscometry, i.e., the steady torsional flow in between two parallel disks, can be used to unambiguously determine the yield stress and other parameters of viscoplastic constitutive equations and wall slip behavior. It was specifically shown that torque versus rotational speed information, obtained from parallel-disk viscometry, was sufficient to determine the yield stress of a viscoplastic hydrogel. Additional gap-dependent data from parallel-disk viscometry could then be used to characterize the other parameters of the shear viscosity and wall slip behavior of the hydrogel. To investigate the accuracy of the parameters of shear viscosity and apparent wall slip that were determined, the data were used to calculate the torque values and the velocity distributions (using the lubrication assumption and parallel plate analogy) under different flow conditions. The calculated torques and velocity distributions of the hydrogel agreed very well with experimental data collected by Medina-Bañuelos et al., 2021, suggesting that the methodologies demonstrated here provide the means necessary to understand in detail the steady flow and deformation behavior of hydrogels. Such a detailed understanding of the viscoplastic nature and wall slip behavior of hydrogels can then be used to design and develop novel hydrogels with a wider range of applications in the medical and other industrial areas, and for finding optimum conditions for their processing and manufacturing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gel Analysis and Characterization)
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23 pages, 8356 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study on Physicochemical Properties of a Shear Thixotropic Polymer Gel for Lost Circulation Control
by Jingbin Yang, Yingrui Bai, Jinsheng Sun, Kaihe Lv, Jinliang Han and Liyao Dai
Gels 2022, 8(4), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040229 - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3117
Abstract
Polymer gel lost circulation control technology is a common and effective technique to control fractured lost circulation. The performance of a lost circulation control agent is the key to the success of lost circulation control techniques. In this study, rheological tests were used [...] Read more.
Polymer gel lost circulation control technology is a common and effective technique to control fractured lost circulation. The performance of a lost circulation control agent is the key to the success of lost circulation control techniques. In this study, rheological tests were used to study the physical and chemical properties of a shear thixotropic polymer gel system, such as anti-dilution, high temperature resistance and high salt resistance. The results showed that the shear thixotropic polymer gel system had the ability of anti-dilution, and the gel could be formed under a mixture of 3 times volume of heavy salt water and 3/7 volume white oil, and could keep the structure and morphology stable. Secondly, the gel formation time of shear thixotropic polymer gel system could be controlled and had good injection performance under the condition of 140 °C and different initiator concentrations. Meanwhile, the shear thixotropic polymer gel system had the ability of high temperature and high salt resistance, and the gel formation effect was good in salt water. When the scanning frequency was 4 Hz and the temperature was 140 °C, the storage modulus (G′) of the gel was 4700 Pa. The gel was dominated by elasticity and had excellent mechanical properties. By scanning electron microscope observation, it was found that the shear thixotropic polymer gel system had a stable three-dimensional reticular space skeleton under the condition of high salt, indicating that it had excellent ability to tolerate high salt. Therefore, the shear thixotropic polymer gel had high temperature and high salt resistance, dilution resistance and good shear responsiveness. It is believed that the results presented in this work are of importance for extending real-life applications of shear thixotropic polymer gel systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gels for Oil Drilling and Enhanced Recovery)
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16 pages, 2928 KiB  
Article
Influence of Levan on the Thermally Induced Gel Formation of β-Lactoglobulin
by Christoph S. Hundschell, Juliane Brühan, Theresa Anzmann, Reinhard Kohlus and Anja M. Wagemans
Gels 2022, 8(4), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040228 - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2225
Abstract
In this study, the influence of levan on the phase behavior and the thermally induced gelation of the mixed β-lactoglobulin—levan gels as a function of polymer content, molecular weight and ionic strength was characterized. For this purpose, rheology was used to study the [...] Read more.
In this study, the influence of levan on the phase behavior and the thermally induced gelation of the mixed β-lactoglobulin—levan gels as a function of polymer content, molecular weight and ionic strength was characterized. For this purpose, rheology was used to study the mechanical properties of the gels and the water binding of the network structure was investigated by time domain nuclear magnetic resonance. Phase behavior and network type were analyzed by optical observation and electron microscopy. Levan enhanced the aggregation and gel formation of β-lg due to segregative forces between the polymer species. Segregation was caused by the excluded volume effect and was more pronounced at lower ionic strength, higher levan contents and higher levan molecular weights. The presence of levan increased the water binding of the gel networks. However, this effect decreased with increasing levan content. At high ionic strength and high levan content, phase separated gels were formed. While segregative forces enhanced network formation, and therefore, increased the gel strength of mixed gels at low ionic strength, levan had also antagonistic effects on the network formation at high ionic strength and high polymer contents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Food Colloids)
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9 pages, 1720 KiB  
Article
An Alternative Radiation Shielding Material Based on Barium-Sulphate (BaSO4)-Modified Fly Ash Geopolymers
by Ammar A. Oglat and Sabri M. Shalbi
Gels 2022, 8(4), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040227 - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2555
Abstract
Geopolymers are a new environmentally friendly cementitious material, and the application of geopolymers can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the development of the cement industry. Purpose: This study investigates the radiation shielding capacity of fly ash geopolymers (FAGP) as a viable [...] Read more.
Geopolymers are a new environmentally friendly cementitious material, and the application of geopolymers can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the development of the cement industry. Purpose: This study investigates the radiation shielding capacity of fly ash geopolymers (FAGP) as a viable alternative to conventionally used ordinary Portland cement (OPC) due to the high demand for an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and non-toxic shield material. Methods: The FAGP material was fabricated and combined with Barium sulphate (BaSO4) at different ratios (0, 5, 10 and 15%). Different thicknesses (3, 6 and 9 cm) of the samples were also prepared. An energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) was used to determine the elemental percentages of the materials, which were then used to calculate their effective atomic number (Zeff). An ion chamber was used to detect the dose of radiation transmitted through the samples. Results: The lowest radiation dosage (34.68 µGy) and highest Zeff were achieved with FAGP combined with 15% BaSO4 at 9 cm thickness. The decrease in radiation dosage can be attributed to the increase in Zeff with the addition of BaSO4 to FAGP, which in turn increases the density of FAGP. Conclusions: Thus, the radiation dose can be significantly reduced with a higher ratio of BaSO4 to FAGP. This study shows that FAGP combined with BaSO4 is a promising radiation shielding material, as well as a viable alternative to OPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geopolymer Gels for Next-Generation Construction)
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11 pages, 3107 KiB  
Article
Effect of Vibrations, Displacement, Pressure, Temperature and Humidity on the Resistance and Impedance of the Shockproof Resistors Based on Rubber and Jelly (NiPc–CNT–Oil) Composites
by Muhammad Tariq Saeed Chani, Khasan S. Karimov, Abdullah M. Asiri, Mohammed M. Rahman and Tahseen Kamal
Gels 2022, 8(4), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040226 - 7 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1966
Abstract
Here, we present the design, fabrication and characterization of shockproof rubber–jelly (NiPc–CNT–oil) composite-based resistors. To fabricate the resistors, gels of CNT and NiPc with edible oil were prepared and deposited on a flexible rubber substrate using rubbing-in technique. The devices’ resistance and impedance [...] Read more.
Here, we present the design, fabrication and characterization of shockproof rubber–jelly (NiPc–CNT–oil) composite-based resistors. To fabricate the resistors, gels of CNT and NiPc with edible oil were prepared and deposited on a flexible rubber substrate using rubbing-in technique. The devices’ resistance and impedance were investigated under the effect of pressure, displacement, humidity, temperature and mechanical vibrations. The resistance and the impedance decreased, on average, by 1.08 times under the effect of pressure (up to 850 gf/cm2) and by 1.04 times under the effect of displacement (up to 50 µm). Accordingly, upon increasing the humidity from 60% to 90% RH, the resistance and impedance decreased by up to 1.04 times, while upon increasing the temperature from 25 °C to 43 °C, the resistance and impedances also decreased by up to 1.05 times. Moreover, under the effect of vibration, a decrease in resistance and impedance, by up to 1.03 times, was observed. The investigated samples can potentially be used as prototypes for the development of shockproof jelly electronic-based devices in particular resistors. The technological achievement in the fabrication of these devices is the use of edible organic oil, which allows for the fabrication of uniform jelly films of organic materials that cannot be realized simply by mixing “dry” ingredients. Especially, we highlight that edible organic oil is environmentally friendly, unlike some other inorganic oils that are used in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conductive Gels)
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20 pages, 4088 KiB  
Article
Synthesis of Bioactive Materials by In Situ One-Step Direct Loading of Syzygium aromaticum Essential Oil into Chitosan-Based Hydrogels
by Elena Stoleru, Raluca P. Dumitriu, Gabriela-Liliana Ailiesei, Catalina Yilmaz and Mihai Brebu
Gels 2022, 8(4), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040225 - 6 Apr 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2294
Abstract
Hydrogel conjugates based on chitosan and an essential oil were synthetized by an ultrasound-assisted emulsification approach. Rheology studies revealed a gel-type structure with pronounced compactness and flexibility while SEM showed the formation of a two-level ordered network with highly interconnected pores. The swelling [...] Read more.
Hydrogel conjugates based on chitosan and an essential oil were synthetized by an ultrasound-assisted emulsification approach. Rheology studies revealed a gel-type structure with pronounced compactness and flexibility while SEM showed the formation of a two-level ordered network with highly interconnected pores. The swelling studies indicated a pH-dependent behavior with a significant overshooting effect. The synergistic effects of the components in clove essential oil led to a strong antioxidant character and an enhanced antimicrobial activity of the conjugate hydrogels. The bioactivity was maintained for 6 months, despite a slight decrease in the antimicrobial effect. Hydrogel conjugates were found to be very stable even after two months immersed in acidic solutions that would otherwise dissolve the chitosan matrix. Ultrasound emulsification was proved as an efficient one-step loading method of hydrophobic clove essential oil into hydrophilic chitosan matrix. It was found that clove oil and its components have a double role. Besides providing bioactivity, they also behave as gelation-inducing agents, acting as an alternative to the classical chemical cross-linkers to ensure the good physical and chemical stabilization of chitosan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chitosan Functional Hydrogels: Synthesis and Applications)
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12 pages, 1793 KiB  
Article
A Hydrogel as a Bespoke Delivery Platform for Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1
by Yi Wang, Vanessa Penna, Richard J. Williams, Clare L. Parish and David R. Nisbet
Gels 2022, 8(4), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040224 - 6 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2407
Abstract
The defined self-assembly of peptides (SAPs) into nanostructured bioactive hydrogels has great potential for repairing traumatic brain injuries, as they maintain a stable, homeostatic environment at an injury site, preventing further degeneration. They also present a bespoke platform to restore function via the [...] Read more.
The defined self-assembly of peptides (SAPs) into nanostructured bioactive hydrogels has great potential for repairing traumatic brain injuries, as they maintain a stable, homeostatic environment at an injury site, preventing further degeneration. They also present a bespoke platform to restore function via the naturalistic presentation of therapeutic proteins, such as stromal-cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1), expressed by meningeal cells. A key challenge to the use of the SDF protein, however, is its rapid diffusion and degradation. Here, we engineered a homeostatic hydrogel produced by incorporating recombinant SDF-1 protein within a self-assembled peptide hydrogel to create a supportive milieu for transplanted cells. Our hydrogel can concomitantly deliver viable primary neural progenitor cells and sustained active SDF-1 to support the nascent graft, resulting in increased neuronal differentiation. Moreover, this homeostatic hydrogel can ensure a healthy and larger graft core without impeding neuronal fiber growth and innervation. These findings demonstrate the regenerative potential of these hydrogels to improve the integration of grafted cells to treat neural injuries and diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Hydrogel in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine)
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20 pages, 5016 KiB  
Article
Drug Delivery from Hyaluronic Acid–BDDE Injectable Hydrogels for Antibacterial and Anti-Inflammatory Applications
by Jon Andrade del Olmo, Leyre Pérez-Álvarez, Virginia Sáez Martínez, Sandra Benito Cid, Raúl Pérez González, José Luis Vilas-Vilela and José María Alonso
Gels 2022, 8(4), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040223 - 6 Apr 2022
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5759
Abstract
Hyaluronic acid (HA) injectable biomaterials are currently applied in numerous biomedical areas, beyond their use as dermal fillers. However, bacterial infections and painful inflammations are associated with healthcare complications that can appear after injection, restricting their applicability. Fortunately, HA injectable hydrogels can also [...] Read more.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) injectable biomaterials are currently applied in numerous biomedical areas, beyond their use as dermal fillers. However, bacterial infections and painful inflammations are associated with healthcare complications that can appear after injection, restricting their applicability. Fortunately, HA injectable hydrogels can also serve as drug delivery platforms for the controlled release of bioactive agents with a critical role in the control of certain diseases. Accordingly, herein, HA hydrogels were crosslinked with 1 4-butanediol diglycidyl ether (BDDE) loaded with cefuroxime (CFX), tetracycline (TCN), and amoxicillin (AMX) antibiotics and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) anti-inflammatory agent in order to promote antibacterial and anti-inflammatory responses. The hydrogels were thoroughly characterized and a clear correlation between the crosslinking grade and the hydrogels’ physicochemical properties was found after rheology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetry (TGA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analyses. The biological safety of the hydrogels, expected due to the lack of BDDE residues observed in 1H-NMR spectroscopy, was also corroborated by an exhaustive biocompatibility test. As expected, the in vitro antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity of the drug-loaded HA-BDDE hydrogels was confirmed against Staphylococcus aureus by significantly decreasing the pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Injectable Gels: Applications in Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering)
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15 pages, 6089 KiB  
Article
Study of Ag Nanoparticles in a Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Dosimeters by Optical Technique
by Yasser S. Soliman, Soad M. Tadros, Wafaa B. Beshir, Gamal R. Saad, Salvatore Gallo, Laila I. Ali and Magdi M. Naoum
Gels 2022, 8(4), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040222 - 5 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2215
Abstract
The dosimetric characteristics of hydrogel dosimeters based on polyacrylamide (PAC) as a capping agent incorporating silver nitrate as a radiation-sensitive material are investigated using UV-Vis spectrophotometry within the dose range 0–100 Gy. Glycerol was used in the hydrogel matrix to promote the dosimetric [...] Read more.
The dosimetric characteristics of hydrogel dosimeters based on polyacrylamide (PAC) as a capping agent incorporating silver nitrate as a radiation-sensitive material are investigated using UV-Vis spectrophotometry within the dose range 0–100 Gy. Glycerol was used in the hydrogel matrix to promote the dosimetric response and increase the radiation sensitivity. Upon exposing the PAC hydrogel to γ-ray, it exhibits a Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) band at 453 nm, and its intensity increases linearly with absorbed doses up to 100 Gy. The results are compared with the silver nitrate gel dosimeter. Glycerol of 15% in the hydrogel matrix enhances the radiation sensitivity by about 30%. PAC hydrogel dosimeter can be considered a near water equivalent material in the 400 keV–20 MeV photon energy range. At doses less than 15 Gy, the PAC hydrogel dosimeter retains higher radiation sensitivity than the gel dosimeter. The total uncertainty (2σ) of the dose estimated using this hydrogel is about 4%. These results may support the validity of using this hydrogel as a dosimeter to verify radiotherapy techniques and dose monitoring during blood irradiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gel Dosimetry)
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25 pages, 9408 KiB  
Article
Aminopolycarboxylic Acids-Functionalized Chitosan-Based Composite Cryogels as Valuable Heavy Metal Ions Sorbents: Fixed-Bed Column Studies and Theoretical Analysis
by Maria Valentina Dinu, Ionel Humelnicu, Claudiu Augustin Ghiorghita and Doina Humelnicu
Gels 2022, 8(4), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040221 - 5 Apr 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3030
Abstract
Over the years, a large number of sorption experiments using the aminopolycarboxylic acid (APCA)-functionalized adsorbents were carried out in batch conditions, but prospective research should also be directed towards column studies to check their industrial/commercial feasibility. In this context, sorption studies of five-component [...] Read more.
Over the years, a large number of sorption experiments using the aminopolycarboxylic acid (APCA)-functionalized adsorbents were carried out in batch conditions, but prospective research should also be directed towards column studies to check their industrial/commercial feasibility. In this context, sorption studies of five-component heavy metal ion (HMI) solutions containing Zn2+, Pb2+, Cd2+, Ni2+, and Co2+ in equimolar concentrations were assessed in fixed-bed columns using some APCA-functionalized chitosan-clinoptilolite (CS-CPL) cryogel sorbents in comparison to unmodified composite materials. The overall sorption tendency of the APCA-functionalized composite sorbents followed the sequence Co2+ < Zn2+ < Cd2+ ≤ Pb2+ < Ni2+, meaning that Co2+ ions had the lowest affinity for the sorbent’s functional groups, whereas the Ni2+ ions were strongly and preferentially adsorbed. To get more insights into the application of the composite microbeads into continuous flow set-up, the kinetic data were described by Thomas and Yoon–Nelson models. A maximum theoretical HMI sorption capacity of 145.55 mg/g and a 50% breakthrough time of 121.5 min were estimated for the column containing CSEDTA-CPL cryogel sorbents; both values were much higher than those obtained for the column filled with pristine CS-CPL sorbents. In addition, desorption of HMIs from the composite microbeads in dynamic conditions was successfully achieved using 0.1 M HCl aqueous solution. Moreover, a theoretical analysis of APCA structures attached to composite adsorbents and their spatial structures within the complex combinations with transition metals was systematically performed. Starting from the most stable conformer of EDTA, coordinative combinations with HMIs can be obtained with an energy consumption of only 1 kcal/mole, which is enough to shift the spatial structure into a favorable conformation for HMI chelation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Gel Materials)
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23 pages, 3716 KiB  
Review
Hydrogel Adsorbents for the Removal of Hazardous Pollutants—Requirements and Available Functions as Adsorbent
by Yoshimi Seida and Hideaki Tokuyama
Gels 2022, 8(4), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040220 - 3 Apr 2022
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 4969
Abstract
Over the last few decades, various adsorption functions of polymer hydrogels for the removal of hazardous pollutants have been developed. The performance of hydrogel adsorbents depends on the constituents of the gels and the functions produced by the polymer networks of the gels. [...] Read more.
Over the last few decades, various adsorption functions of polymer hydrogels for the removal of hazardous pollutants have been developed. The performance of hydrogel adsorbents depends on the constituents of the gels and the functions produced by the polymer networks of the gels. Research on hydrogels utilizing the characteristic functions of polymer networks has increased over the last decade. The functions of polymer networks are key to the development of advanced adsorbents for the removal of various pollutants. No review has discussed hydrogel adsorbents from the perspective of the roles and functions of polymer networks in hydrogels. This paper briefly reviews the basic requirements of adsorbents and the general characteristics of hydrogels as adsorbents. Thereafter, hydrogels are reviewed on the basis of the roles and functions of the polymer networks in them for the removal of hazardous pollutants by introducing studies published over the last decade. The application of hydrogels as adsorbents for the removal of hazardous pollutants is discussed as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Removing Hazardous Materials from Water Using Polymer Hydrogel)
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23 pages, 3607 KiB  
Article
Phytosterol-Loaded Surface-Tailored Bioactive-Polymer Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment: Optimization, In Vitro Cell Viability, Antioxidant Activity, and Stability Studies
by Shahid Karim, Md Habban Akhter, Abdulhadi S. Burzangi, Huda Alkreathy, Basma Alharthy, Sabna Kotta, Shadab Md, Md Abdur Rashid, Obaid Afzal, Abdulmalik S. A. Altamimi and Habibullah Khalilullah
Gels 2022, 8(4), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8040219 - 2 Apr 2022
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2697
Abstract
This study aimsto optimize, characterize, and assess the phytosterol-loaded surface-tailored bioactive Alginate/Chitosan NPs for antitumor efficacy against breast cancer. β-Sitosterol-loaded Alginate/Chitosan nanoparticles (β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs) were fabricated using an ion-gelation technique, and then the NPs’ surfaces were activated using an EDC/sulfo-NHS conjugation reaction. The activated [...] Read more.
This study aimsto optimize, characterize, and assess the phytosterol-loaded surface-tailored bioactive Alginate/Chitosan NPs for antitumor efficacy against breast cancer. β-Sitosterol-loaded Alginate/Chitosan nanoparticles (β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs) were fabricated using an ion-gelation technique, and then the NPs’ surfaces were activated using an EDC/sulfo-NHS conjugation reaction. The activated chitosan NPs werefunctionalized with folic acid (FA), leveled as β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA. Moreover, the functionalized NPs were characterized for size distribution, polydispersity index (PDI), and surface charge, FT-IR and DSC. β-SIT released from β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs was estimated in various biorelevant media of pH 7.4, 6.5, and 5.5, and data werefitted into various kinetic models. The cytotoxic study of β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA against the cancer cell line was established. The antioxidant study of developed β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs was performed using DPPH assay. The stability of developed optimized formulation was assessed in phosphate buffer saline (PBS, pH 7.4), as per ICH guidelines. The drug-entrapped Alg/Ch-NPs-FA appeared uniform and nonaggregated, and the nanoscale particle measured a mean size of 126 ± 8.70 nm. The %drug encapsulation efficiency and %drug loading in β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA were 91.06 ± 2.6% and 6.0 ± 0.52%, respectively. The surface charge on β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA was measured as +25 mV. The maximum β-SIT release from β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA was 71.50 ± 6.5% in pH 5.5. The cytotoxic assay expressed an extremely significant antitumor effect by β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA when compared to β-SIT-suspension (p < 0.001). The antioxidant capacity of β-SIT-Alg/Ch-NPs-FA was 91 ± 5.99% compared to 29 ± 8.02% for β-SIT-suspension. The stability of NPs noticed an unworthy alteration (p > 0.05) in particle sizes and other parameters under study in the specific period. Full article
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