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State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy (Closed)

A topical collection in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This collection belongs to the section "Materials Science".

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Editors


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Collection Editor
Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Interests: controlled drug delivery systems; nanomedicine; nutraceutical products; thermosensitive hydrogels; ocular delivery; oral delivery; multifunctional chitosan derivatives; mucoadhesive nanoparticles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Collection Editor
Department Translational Medicine, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Interests: tissue engineering; regenerative medicine; 3D printing; stem cells; exosomes; biomaterials
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Collection Editor
NanoBioSystems Group, Institute of Applied Sciences and Intelligent Systems, National Research Council, Via Pietro Castellino n.111, 80131 Napoli, Italy
Interests: optical biosensors; bio/non-bio interfaces; optical sensors; plasmonic substrates
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Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Topical Collection of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS) aims to rapidly publish contributions on the synthesis, properties’ characterization and application of all aspects of materials with a focus on biological or molecular research. Topics include, without being limited to:

  • Biomaterials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Structural Materials
  • Functional/Sensor Materials
  • Advanced/Nuclear Materials
  • Polymers/Composites
  • Self-Assembly/Macromolecular Materials
  • Optoelectronic/Magnetic Materials
  • Soft Materials
  • Biological Materials
  • Non-covalent Interactions

Prof. Dr. Ylenia Zambito
Prof. Dr. Barbara Zavan
Dr. Luca De Stefano
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • biomaterials
  • nanomaterials
  • structural materials
  • functional/sensor materials
  • advanced/nuclear materials
  • polymers/composites
  • self-assembly/macromolecular materials
  • optoelectronic/magnetic materials
  • soft materials
  • biological materials
  • non-covalent interactions

Published Papers (9 papers)

2023

Jump to: 2022

15 pages, 3990 KiB  
Article
Valorization Strategies in CO2 Capture: A New Life for Exhausted Silica-Polyethylenimine
by Irene Coralli, Demetra Giuri, Lorenzo Spada, Jacopo Ortolani, Laura Mazzocchetti, Claudia Tomasini, Lee A. Stevens, Colin E. Snape and Daniele Fabbri
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914415 - 22 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1788
Abstract
The search for alternative ways to give a second life to materials paved the way for detailed investigation into three silica-polyethylenimine (Si-PEI) materials for the purpose of CO2 adsorption in carbon capture and storage. A solvent extraction procedure was investigated to recover [...] Read more.
The search for alternative ways to give a second life to materials paved the way for detailed investigation into three silica-polyethylenimine (Si-PEI) materials for the purpose of CO2 adsorption in carbon capture and storage. A solvent extraction procedure was investigated to recover degraded PEIs and silica, and concomitantly, pyrolysis was evaluated to obtain valuable chemicals such as alkylated pyrazines. An array of thermal (TGA, Py-GC-MS), mechanical (rheology), and spectroscopical (ATR-FTIR, 1H-13C-NMR) methods were applied to PEIs extracted with methanol to determine the relevant physico-chemical features of these polymers when subjected to degradation after use in CO2 capture. Proxies of degradation associated with the plausible formation of urea/carbamate moieties were revealed by Py-GC-MS, NMR, and ATR-FTIR. The yield of alkylpyrazines estimated by Py-GC-MS highlighted the potential of exhausted PEIs as possibly valuable materials in other applications. Full article
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22 pages, 3359 KiB  
Article
Investigation and Comparison of Active and Passive Encapsulation Methods for Loading Proteins into Liposomes
by Silvia Pisani, Deborah Di Martino, Silvia Cerri, Ida Genta, Rossella Dorati, Giulia Bertino, Marco Benazzo and Bice Conti
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(17), 13542; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241713542 - 31 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1527
Abstract
In this work, four different active encapsulation methods, microfluidic (MF), sonication (SC), freeze–thawing (FT), and electroporation (EP), were investigated to load a model protein (bovine serum albumin—BSA) into neutral liposomes made from 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC):cholesterol (Chol) and charged liposomes made from DSPC:Chol:Dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium propane (DOTAP), [...] Read more.
In this work, four different active encapsulation methods, microfluidic (MF), sonication (SC), freeze–thawing (FT), and electroporation (EP), were investigated to load a model protein (bovine serum albumin—BSA) into neutral liposomes made from 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC):cholesterol (Chol) and charged liposomes made from DSPC:Chol:Dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium propane (DOTAP), DSPC:Chol:1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-L-serine (DOPS), and DSPC:Chol:phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). The aim was to increase the protein encapsulation efficiency (EE%) by keeping the liposome size below 200 nm and the PDI value below 0.7, which warrants a nearly monodisperse preparation. Electroporation (100 V) yielded the best results in terms of EE%, with a dramatic increase in liposome size (>600 nm). The FT active-loading method, either applied to neutral or charged liposomes, allowed for obtaining suitable EE%, keeping the liposome size range below 200 nm with a suitable PDI index. Cationic liposomes (DSPC:Chol:DOTAP) loaded with the FT active method showed the best results in terms of EE% (7.2 ± 0.8%) and size (131.2 ± 11.4 nm, 0.140 PDI). In vitro release of BSA from AM neutral and charged liposomes resulted slower compared to PM liposomes and was affected by incubation temperature (37 °C, 4 °C). The empty charged liposomes tested for cell viability on Human Normal Dermal Fibroblast (HNDF) confirmed their cytocompatibility also at high concentrations (1010 particles/mL) and cellular uptake at 4 °C and 37 °C. It can be concluded that even if both microfluidic passive and active methods are more easily transferable to an industrial scale, the FT active-loading method turned out to be the best in terms of BSA encapsulation efficiencies, keeping liposome size below 200 nm. Full article
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19 pages, 8893 KiB  
Article
The Effectiveness of Cyrene as a Solvent in Exfoliating 2D TMDs Nanosheets
by Jaber Adam, Manjot Singh, Avazbek Abduvakhidov, Maria Rosaria Del Sorbo, Chiara Feoli, Fida Hussain, Jasneet Kaur, Antonia Mirabella, Manuela Rossi, Antonio Sasso, Mohammadhassan Valadan, Michela Varra, Giulia Rusciano and Carlo Altucci
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(13), 10450; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241310450 - 21 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
The pursuit of environmentally friendly solvents has become an essential research topic in sustainable chemistry and nanomaterial science. With the need to substitute toxic solvents in nanofabrication processes becoming more pressing, the search for alternative solvents has taken on a crucial role in [...] Read more.
The pursuit of environmentally friendly solvents has become an essential research topic in sustainable chemistry and nanomaterial science. With the need to substitute toxic solvents in nanofabrication processes becoming more pressing, the search for alternative solvents has taken on a crucial role in this field. Additionally, the use of toxic, non-economical organic solvents, such as N-methyl-2 pyrrolidone and dimethylformamide, is not suitable for all biomedical applications, even though these solvents are often considered as the best exfoliating agents for nanomaterial fabrication. In this context, the success of producing two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (2D TMDs), such as MoS2 and WS2, with excellent captivating properties is due to the ease of synthesis based on environment-friendly, benign methods with fewer toxic chemicals involved. Herein, we report for the first time on the use of cyrene as an exfoliating agent to fabricate monolayer and few-layered 2D TMDs with a versatile, less time-consuming liquid-phase exfoliation technique. This bio-derived, aprotic, green and eco-friendly solvent produced a stable, surfactant-free, concentrated 2D TMD dispersion with very interesting features, as characterized by UV–visible and Raman spectroscopies. The surface charge and morphology of the fabricated nanoflakes were analyzed using ς-potential and scanning electron microscopy. The study demonstrates that cyrene is a promising green solvent for the exfoliation of 2D TMD nanosheets with potential advantages over traditional organic solvents. The ability to produce smaller-sized—especially in the case of WS2 as compared to MoS2—and mono/few-layered nanostructures with higher negative surface charge values makes cyrene a promising candidate for various biomedical and electronic applications. Overall, the study contributes to the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly methods for the production of 2D nanomaterials for various applications. Full article
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15 pages, 2087 KiB  
Article
Developing New Cyclodextrin-Based Nanosponges Complexes to Improve Vitamin D Absorption in an In Vitro Study
by Francesca Uberti, Francesco Trotta, Pasquale Pagliaro, Daniel Mihai Bisericaru, Roberta Cavalli, Sara Ferrari, Claudia Penna and Adrián Matencio
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5322; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065322 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
Vitamin D plays an important role in numerous cellular functions due to the ability to bind the Vitamin D receptor (VDR), which is present in different tissues. Several human diseases depend on low vitamin D3 (human isoform) serum level, and supplementation is necessary. [...] Read more.
Vitamin D plays an important role in numerous cellular functions due to the ability to bind the Vitamin D receptor (VDR), which is present in different tissues. Several human diseases depend on low vitamin D3 (human isoform) serum level, and supplementation is necessary. However, vitamin D3 has poor bioavailability, and several strategies are tested to increase its absorption. In this work, the complexation of vitamin D3 in Cyclodextrin-based nanosponge (CD-NS, in particular, βNS-CDI 1:4) was carried out to study the possible enhancement of bioactivity. The βNS-CDI 1:4 was synthesized by mechanochemistry, and the complex was confirmed using FTIR-ATR and TGA. TGA demonstrated higher thermostability of the complexed form. Subsequently, in vitro experiments were performed to evaluate the biological activity of Vitamin D3 complexed in the nanosponges on intestinal cells and assess its bioavailability without cytotoxic effect. The Vitamin D3 complexes enhance cellular activity at the intestinal level and improve its bioavailability. In conclusion, this study demonstrates for the first time the ability of CD-NS complexes to improve the chemical and biological function of Vitamin D3. Full article
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17 pages, 3256 KiB  
Article
Engineering Interfacial Environment of Epigallocatechin Gallate Coated Titanium for Next-Generation Bioactive Dental Implant Components
by Giorgio Iviglia and Marco Morra
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032661 - 31 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1528
Abstract
In view of endowing the surface of abutments, a component of titanium dental implant systems, with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, a surface layer coated with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a polyphenol belonging to the class of flavonoids, was built on titanium samples. To modulate [...] Read more.
In view of endowing the surface of abutments, a component of titanium dental implant systems, with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, a surface layer coated with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a polyphenol belonging to the class of flavonoids, was built on titanium samples. To modulate interfacial properties, EGCg was linked either directly to the surface, or after populating the surface with terminally linked polyethyleneglycol (PEG) chains, Mw ~1600 Da. The underlying assumption is that fouling-resistant, highly hydrated PEG chains could reduce non-specific bioadhesion and magnify intrinsic EGCg properties. Treated surfaces were investigated by a panel of surface/interfacial sensitive techniques, to provide chemico–physical characterization of the surface layer and its interfacial environment. Results show: (i) successful EGCg coupling for both approaches; (ii) that both approaches endow the Ti surface with the same antioxidant properties; (iii) that PEG-EGCg coated surfaces are more hydrophilic and show a significantly higher (>50%) interaction force with water. Obtained results build up a rationale basis for evaluation of the merits of finely tuning interfacial properties of polyphenols coated surfaces in biological tests. Full article
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18 pages, 5025 KiB  
Article
Polymer Encapsulated Liposomes for Oral Co-Delivery of Curcumin and Hydroxytyrosol
by Vincenzo De Leo, Anna Maria Maurelli, Livia Giotta, Valeria Daniello, Sante Di Gioia, Massimo Conese, Chiara Ingrosso, Fulvio Ciriaco and Lucia Catucci
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(1), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24010790 - 2 Jan 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2374
Abstract
Curcumin (Cur) is a hydrophobic polyphenol from the rhizome of Curcuma spp., while hydroxytyrosol (HT) is a water-soluble polyphenol from Olea europaea. Both show outstanding antioxidant properties but suffer from scarce bioavailability and low stability in biological fluids. In this work, the [...] Read more.
Curcumin (Cur) is a hydrophobic polyphenol from the rhizome of Curcuma spp., while hydroxytyrosol (HT) is a water-soluble polyphenol from Olea europaea. Both show outstanding antioxidant properties but suffer from scarce bioavailability and low stability in biological fluids. In this work, the co-encapsulation of Cur and HT into liposomes was realized, and the liposomal formulation was improved using polymers to increase their survival in the gastrointestinal tract. Liposomes with different compositions were formulated: Type 1, composed of phospholipids and cholesterol; Type 2, also with a PEG coating; and Type 3 providing an additional shell of Eudragit® S100, a gastro-resistant polymer. Samples were characterized in terms of size, morphology, ζ-potential, encapsulation efficiency, and loading capacity. All samples were subjected to a simulated in vitro digestion and their stability was investigated. The Eudragit®S100 coating demonstrated prevention of early releases of HT in the mouth and gastric phases, while the PEG shell reduced bile salts and pancreatin effects during the intestinal digestion. In vitro antioxidant activity showed a cumulative effect for Cur and HT loaded in vesicles. Finally, liposomes with HT concentrations up to 40 μM and Cur up to 4.7 μM, alone or in combination, did not show cytotoxicity against Caco-2 cells. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2023

15 pages, 1487 KiB  
Review
Tobramycin Nanoantibiotics and Their Advantages: A Minireview
by Mariella Rosalia, Enrica Chiesa, Erika Maria Tottoli, Rossella Dorati, Ida Genta, Bice Conti and Silvia Pisani
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(22), 14080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232214080 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2514
Abstract
Nowadays, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a challenge for antibiotic therapy, mostly involving Gram-negative bacteria. Among the strategies activated to overcome AMR, the repurposing of already available antimicrobial molecules by encapsulating them in drug delivery systems, such as nanoparticles (NPs) and also engineered NPs, [...] Read more.
Nowadays, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a challenge for antibiotic therapy, mostly involving Gram-negative bacteria. Among the strategies activated to overcome AMR, the repurposing of already available antimicrobial molecules by encapsulating them in drug delivery systems, such as nanoparticles (NPs) and also engineered NPs, seems to be promising. Tobramycin is a powerful and effective aminoglycoside, approved for complicated infections and reinfections and indicated mainly against Gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Serratia, Providencia, and Citrobacter species. However, the drug presents several side effects, mostly due to dose frequency, and for this reason, it is a good candidate for nanomedicine formulation. This review paper is focused on what has been conducted in the last 20 years for the development of Tobramycin nanosized delivery systems (nanoantibiotics), with critical discussion and comparison. Tobramycin was selected as the antimicrobial drug because it is a wide-spectrum antibiotic that is effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative aerobic bacteria, and it is characterized by a fast bactericidal effect, even against multidrug-resistant microorganisms (MDR). Full article
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28 pages, 3535 KiB  
Review
Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine in Italy: Brief State of the Art of the Principal Research Centers
by Francesca Camponogara, Federica Zanotti, Martina Trentini, Elena Tiengo, Ilaria Zanolla, Elham Pishavar, Elisa Soliani, Marco Scatto, Paolo Gargiulo, Ylenia Zambito, Luca De Stefano, Letizia Ferroni and Barbara Zavan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(15), 8245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23158245 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2789
Abstract
Regenerative medicine is the branch of medicine that effectively uses stem cell therapy and tissue engineering strategies to guide the healing or replacement of damaged tissues or organs. A crucial element is undoubtedly the biomaterial that guides biological events to restore tissue continuity. [...] Read more.
Regenerative medicine is the branch of medicine that effectively uses stem cell therapy and tissue engineering strategies to guide the healing or replacement of damaged tissues or organs. A crucial element is undoubtedly the biomaterial that guides biological events to restore tissue continuity. The polymers, natural or synthetic, find wide application thanks to their great adaptability. In fact, they can be used as principal components, coatings or vehicles to functionalize several biomaterials. There are many leading centers for the research and development of biomaterials in Italy. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the current state of the art on polymer research for regenerative medicine purposes. The last five years of scientific production of the main Italian research centers has been screened to analyze the current advancement in tissue engineering in order to highlight inputs for the development of novel biomaterials and strategies. Full article
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17 pages, 8979 KiB  
Article
Liposome Formulation and In Vitro Testing in Non-Physiological Conditions Addressed to Ex Vivo Kidney Perfusion
by Silvia Pisani, Enrica Chiesa, Ida Genta, Rossella Dorati, Marilena Gregorini, Maria Antonietta Grignano, Marina Ramus, Gabriele Ceccarelli, Stefania Croce, Chiara Valsecchi, Manuela Monti, Teresa Rampino and Bice Conti
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(14), 7999; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23147999 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2165
Abstract
This work focuses on formulating liposomes to be used in isolated kidney dynamic machine perfusion in hypothermic conditions as drug delivery systems to improve preservation of transplantable organs. The need mainly arises from use of kidneys from marginal donors for transplantation that are [...] Read more.
This work focuses on formulating liposomes to be used in isolated kidney dynamic machine perfusion in hypothermic conditions as drug delivery systems to improve preservation of transplantable organs. The need mainly arises from use of kidneys from marginal donors for transplantation that are more exposed to ischemic/reperfusion injury compared to those from standard donors. Two liposome preparation techniques, thin film hydration and microfluidic techniques, are explored for formulating liposomes loaded with two model proteins, myoglobin and bovine serum albumin. The protein-loaded liposomes are characterized for their size by DLS and morphology by TEM. Protein releases from the liposomes are tested in PERF-GEN perfusion fluid, 4 °C, and compared to the in vitro protein release in PBS, 37 °C. Fluorescent liposome uptake is analyzed by fluorescent microscope in vitro on epithelial tubular renal cell cultures and ex vivo on isolated pig kidney in hypothermic perfusion conditions. The results show that microfluidics are a superior technique for obtaining reproducible spherical liposomes with suitable size below 200 nm. Protein encapsulation efficiency is affected by its molecular weight and isoelectric point. Lowering incubation temperature slows down the proteins release; the perfusion fluid significantly affects the release of proteins sensitive to ionic media (such as BSA). Liposomes are taken up by epithelial tubular renal cells in two hours’ incubation time. Full article
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