The role of hydration in degradation and erosion of materials, especially biomaterials used in scaffolds and implants, was investigated by studying the distribution of water at length scales from 0.1 nm to 0.1 mm using Raman spectroscopy, small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), Raman confocal imaging, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The measurements were demonstrated using L-tyrosine derived polyarylates. Bound- and free- water were characterized using their respective signatures in the Raman spectra. In the presence of deuterium oxide (D2O), H-D exchange occurred at the amide carbonyl but was not detected at the ester carbonyl. Water appeared to be present in the polymer even in regions where there was little evidence for N-H to N-D exchange. SANS showed that water is not uniformly dispersed in the polymer matrix. The distribution of water can be described as mass fractals in polymers with low water content (~5 wt%), and surface fractals in polymers with larger water content (15 to 60 wt%). These fluctuations in the density of water distribution are presumed to be the precursors of the ~ 20 μm water pockets seen by Raman confocal imaging, and also give rise to 10–50 μm porous network seen in SEM. The surfaces of these polymers appeared to resist erosion while the core of the films continued to erode to form a porous structure. This could be due to differences in either the density of the polymer or the solvent environment in the bulk vs. the surface, or a combination of these two factors. There was no correlation between the rate of degradation and the amount of water uptake in these polymers, and this suggests that it is the bound-water and not the total amount of water that contributes to hydrolytic degradation.
multiscale analysis; hydration; degradation; spectroscopy; scattering; confocal imaging; microscopy; polyarylates
Dendritic cells (DCs) play a critical role in orchestrating the host responses to a wide variety of foreign antigens and are essential in maintaining immune tolerance. Distinct biomaterials have been shown to differentially affect the phenotype of DCs, which suggested that biomaterials may be used to modulate immune response towards the biologic component in combination products. The elucidation of biomaterial property-DC phenotype relationships is expected to inform rational design of immuno-modulatory biomaterials. In this study, DC response to a set of 12 polymethacrylates (pMAs) was assessed in terms of surface marker expression and cytokine profile. Principal component analysis (PCA) determined that surface carbon correlated with enhanced DC maturation, while surface oxygen was associated with an immature DC phenotype. Partial square linear regression, a multivariate modeling approach, was implemented and successfully predicted biomaterial-induced DC phenotype in terms of surface marker expression from biomaterial properties with R2prediction = 0.76. Furthermore, prediction of DC phenotype was effective based on only theoretical chemical composition of the bulk polymers with R2prediction = 0.80. These results demonstrated that immune cell response can be predicted from biomaterial properties, and computational models will expedite future biomaterial design and selection.
dendritic cells; polymethacrylate; combinatorial library; material properties; principal component analysis; partial linear squares regression
Imaging of polymer implants during surgical implantations is challenging in that most materials lack sufficient X-ray contrast. Synthetic derivatization with iodine serves to increase the scattering contrast but results in distinct physico-chemical properties in the material which influence subsequent protein adsorption and cell morphology behavior. Herein we report the impact of increasing iodine inclusion on the cell morphology (cell area and shape) of MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts on a series of homopolymers and discrete blend thin films of poly(desaminotyrosyl tyrosine ethyl ester carbonate), poly(DTE carbonate) and an iodinated analogue poly(I2-DTE carbonate). Cell morphology is correlated to film chemical composition via measuring Fibronectin (FN) adhesion protein adsorption profile on these films. FN exhibits up to 2 fold greater adsorption affinity for poly(I2-DTE carbonate) than (poly(DTE carbonate)). A correlation was established between cell area, roundness and the measured FN adsorption profile on the blend films up to 75 % by mass poly(I2-DTE carbonate). Data suggest that incorporation of iodine within the polymer backbone has a distinct impact on the way FN proteins adsorb to the surface and within the studied blend systems; the effect is composition dependent.
tyrosine-derived polycarbonates; biomaterials; MC3T3-E1; cellular morphology; imaging; Fibronectin; protein adsorption
We have recently reported on an ultra fast degrading tyrosine-derived terpolymer that degrades and resorbs within hours, and is a suitable for use in cortical neural prosthetic applications. Here we further characterize this polymer, and describe a new tyrosine-derived fast degrading terpolymer in which the poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is replaced by poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC). This PTMC containing terpolymer showed similar degradation characteristics but its resorption was negligible in the same period. Thus, changes in the polymer chemistry allowed for the development of two ultrafast degrading polymers with distinct difference in resorption properties. The in vivo tissue response to both polymers used as intraparenchymal cortical devices was compared to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). Slow resorbing, indwelling implant resulted in continuous glial activation and loss of neural tissue. In contrast, the fast degrading tyrosine-derived terpolymer that is also fast resorbing, significantly reduced both the glial response in the implantation site and the neuronal exclusion zone. Such polymers allow for brain tissue recovery, thus render them suitable for neural interfacing applications.
brain tissue response; biodegradation; bioerosion; ultrafast-degrading polymers; tyrosine-derived terpolymer
We report a novel approach for producing carbon nanotube fibers (CNF) composed with the polysaccharide agarose. Current attempts to make CNF’s require the use of a polymer or precipitating agent in the coagulating bath that may have negative effects in biomedical applications. We show that by taking advantage of the gelation properties of agarose one can substitute the bath with distilled water or ethanol and hence reduce the complexity associated with alternating the bath components or the use of organic solvents. We also demonstrate that these CNF can be chemically functionalized to express biological moieties through available free hydroxyl groups in agarose. We corroborate that agarose CNF are not only conductive and nontoxic, but their functionalization can facilitate cell attachment and response both in vitro and in vivo. Our findings suggest that agarose/CNT hybrid materials are excellent candidates for applications involving neural tissue engineering and biointerfacing with the nervous system.
Carbon-nanotubes; agarose; fibers; functionalization; neural
The objective of this research was to examine the capabilities of QSPR (Quantitative Structure Property Relationship) modeling to predict specific biological responses (fibrinogen adsorption, cell attachment and cell proliferation index) on thin films of different polymethacrylates. Using 33 commercially available monomers it is theoretically possible to construct a library of over 40,000 distinct polymer compositions. A subset of these polymers were synthesized and solvent cast surfaces were prepared in 96 well plates for the measurement of fibrinogen adsorption. NIH 3T3 cell attachment and proliferation index were measured on spin coated thin films of these polymers. Based on the experimental results of these polymers, separate models were built for homo-, co-, and terpolymers in the library with good correlation between experiment and predicted values. The ability to predict biological responses by simple QSPR models for large numbers of polymers has important implications in designing biomaterials for specific biological or medical applications.
Combinatorial; Polymethacrylates; Quantitative Structure Property Relation (QSPR)
A focused library of methacrylate terpolymers was synthesized to explore the effects of varying surface chemistry and adhesive peptide ligands on cell function. The chemical diversity of methacrylate monomers enabled construction of a library of polymers in which one can systematically vary the chemical composition to achieve a wide range of contact angle, Young's modulus, and Tg values. Furthermore, the materials were designed to allow surface immobilization of bioactive peptides. We then examined the effects of these material compositions on protein adsorption and cell attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. We observed that chemical composition of the polymers was an important determinant for NIH 3T3 cell attachment and proliferation, as well as human mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, and correlated directly with the ability of the polymers to adsorb proteins that mediate cell adhesion. Importantly, functionalization of the methacrylate terpolymer library with an adhesive GRGDS peptide normalized cellular responses. RGD-functionalized polymers uniformly exhibited robust attachment, proliferation, and differentiation irrespective of the underlying substrate chemistry. These studies provide a library-based approach to rapidly explore the biological functionality of biomaterials with a wide range of compositions, and highlights the importance of cell and protein cell adhesion in predicting their performance.
The integrity, function, and performance of biomedical devices having thin polymeric coatings are critically dependent on the mechanical properties of the film, including the elastic modulus. In this report, the elastic moduli of several tyrosine-derived polycarbonate thin films, specifically desaminotyrosyl ethyl tyrosine polycarbonates p(DTE carbonate), an iodinated derivative p(I2-DTE carbonate), and several discrete blends are measured using a method based on surface wrinkling. The data shows that the elastic modulus does not vary significantly with the blend composition as the weight percentage of p(I2-DTE carbonate) increases for films of uniform thickness in the range of 67 to 200 nm. As a function of film thickness, the observed elastic moduli of p(DTE carbonate), p(I2-DTE carbonate) and their 50:50 by mass blend show little variation over the range 30 to 200 nm.
We compared mechanical properties, degradation rates, and cellular compatibilities of two synthetic polymer fibers potentially useful as ACL reconstruction scaffolds: poly(desaminotyrosyl-tyrosine dodecyl dodecanedioate)(12,10), p(DTD DD) and poly(L-lactic acid), PLLA. The yield stress of ethylene oxide (ETO) sterilized wet fibers was 150 ± 22 MPa and 87 ± 12 MPa for p(DTD DD) and PLLA, respectively, with moduli of 1.7 ± 0.1 MPa and 4.4 ± 0.43 MPa. Strength and molecular weight retention were determined after incubation under physiological conditions at varying times. After 64 weeks strength decreased to 20 and 37% of the initial sterile fiber values and MW decreased to 41% and 36% of the initial values for p(DTD DD) and PLLA, respectively. ETO sterilization had no significant effect on mechanical properties. Differences in mechanical behavior may be due to the semicrystalline nature of PLLA and the small degree of crystallinity induced by mesogenic ordering in p(DTD DD) suggested by DSC analysis. Fibroblast growth was similar on 50-fiber scaffolds of both polymers through 16 days in vitro. These data suggest that p(DTD DD) fibers, with higher strength, lower stiffness, favorable degradation rate and cellular compatibility, may be a superior alternative to PLLA fibers for development of ACL reconstruction scaffolds.
Regulation of smooth muscle cell adhesion, proliferation, and motility on biomaterials is critical to the performance of blood-contacting implants and vascular tissue engineering scaffolds. The goal of this study was to examine the underlying substrate-smooth muscle cell response relations, using a selection of polymers representative of an expansive library of multifunctional, tyrosine-derived polycarbonates. Three chemical components within the polymer structure were selectively varied through copolymerization: 1) the content of iodinated tyrosine to achieve X-ray visibility; 2) the content of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) to decrease protein adsorption and cell adhesivity; and 3) the content of desaminotyrosyl-tyrosine (DT) which regulates the rate of polymer degradation. Using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation, we quantified differential serum protein adsorption behavior due to the chemical components DT, iodinated tyrosine, and PEG: increased PEG content within the polymer structure progressively decreased protein adsorption but the simultaneous presence of both DT and iodinated tyrosine reversed the effects of PEG. The complex interplay of these components was next tested on the adhesion, proliferation, and motility behavior cultured human aortic smooth muscle cells. The incorporation of PEG into the polymer reduced cell attachment, which was reversed in the presence of iodinated tyrosine. Further, we found that as little as 10% DT content was sufficient to negate the PEG effect in polymers containing iodinated tyrosine while in non-iodinated polymers the PEG effect on cell attachment was reversed. Cross-functional analysis of motility and proliferation revealed divergent substrate chemistry related cell response regimes. For instance, within the series of polymers containing both iodinated tyrosine and 10% of DT, increasing PEG levels lowered smooth muscle cell motility without a change in the rate of cell proliferation. In contrast, for non-iodinated tyrosine and 10% of DT, increasing PEG levels increased cell proliferation significantly while reducing cell motility. Clearly, the polycarbonate polymer library offers a sensitive platform to modulate cell adhesion, proliferation, and motility responses, which, in turn, may have implications for controlling vascular remodeling in vivo. Additionally, our data suggests unique biorelevant properties following the incorporation of iodinated subunits in a polymeric biomaterial as a potential platform for X-ray visible devices.
We have developed a novel approach combining high information and high throughput analysis to characterize cell adhesive responses to biomaterial substrates possessing gradients in surface topography. These gradients were fabricated by subjecting thin film blends of tyrosine-derived polycarbonates, i.e. poly(DTE carbonate) and poly(DTO carbonate) to a gradient temperature annealing protocol. Saos-2 cells engineered with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter for farnesylation (GFP-f) were cultured on the gradient substrates to assess the effects of nanoscale surface topology and roughness that arise during the phase separation process on cell attachment and adhesion strength. The high throughput imaging approach allowed us to rapidly identify the “global” and “high content” structure-property relationships between cell adhesion and biomaterial properties such as polymer chemistry and topography. This study found that cell attachment and spreading increased monotonically with DTE content and were significantly elevated at the position with intermediate regions corresponding to the highest “gradient” of surface roughness, while GFP-f farnesylation intensity descriptors were sensitively altered by surface roughness, even in cells with comparable levels of spreading.
We have developed a combinatorial method for determining optimum tissue scaffold composition for several X-ray imaging techniques. X-ray radiography and X-ray microcomputed tomography enable non-invasive imaging of implants in vivo and in vitro. However, highly porous polymeric scaffolds do not always possess sufficient X-ray contrast and are therefore difficult to image with X-ray-based techniques. Incorporation of high radiocontrast atoms, such as iodine, into the polymer structure improves X-ray radiopacity but also affects physicochemical properties and material performance. Thus, we have developed a combinatorial library approach to efficiently determine the minimum amount of contrast agent necessary for X-ray-based imaging. The combinatorial approach is demonstrated in a polymer blend scaffold system where X-ray imaging of poly(desaminotyrosyl-tyrosine ethyl ester carbonate) (pDTEc) scaffolds is improved through a controlled composition variation with an iodinated-pDTEc analog (pI2DTEc). The results show that pDTEc scaffolds must include at least 9%, 16%, 38% or 46% pI2DTEc (by mass) to enable effective imaging by microradiography, dental radiography, dental radiography through 0.75 cm of muscle tissue or micro-computed tomography, respectively. Only two scaffold libraries were required to determine these minimum pI2DTEc percentages required for X-ray imaging, which demonstrates the efficiency of this new combinatorial approach for optimizing scaffold formulations.
Combinatorial library; Polycarbonate; Scaffolds; Radiopacity; X-ray microcomputed tomography; X-ray radiography
Two-dimensional thin films consisting of homopolymer and discrete compositional blends of tyrosine-derived polycarbonates were prepared and characterized in an effort to elucidate the nature of different cell responses that were measured in vitro. The structurally similar blends were found to phase separate after annealing with domain sizes dependent on the overall composition. The thin polymer films were characterized with the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM), water contact angles, and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) and significant changes in roughness were measured following the annealing process. Genetic expression profiles of interleukin-1β and fibronectin in MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts and RAW 264.7 murine macrophages were measured at several time points, demonstrating the time and composition-dependent nature of the cell responses. Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) depicted upregulation of the fibronectin gene copy numbers in each of the blends relative to the homopolymers. Moreover, the interleukin-1β expression profile was found to be compositionally dependent. The data suggest strongly that optimal composition and processing conditions can significantly affect the acute inflammatory and extracellular matrix production responses.
biomaterials; fibronectin; tyrosine-derived polycarbonate; phase separation; real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR); interleukin-1β
Methods for the detection and estimation of diphosgene and triphosgene are described. These compounds are widely used phosgene precursors which produce an intensely colored purple pentamethine oxonol dye when reacted with 1,3-dimethylbarbituric acid (DBA) and pyridine (or a pyridine derivative). Two quantitative methods are described, based on either UV absorbance or fluorescence of the oxonol dye. Detection limits are ~ 4 µmol/L by UV and <0.4 µmol/L by fluorescence. The third method is a test strip for the simple and rapid detection and semi-quantitative estimation of diphosgene and triphosgene, using a filter paper embedded with dimethylbarbituric acid and poly(4-vinylpyridine). Addition of a test solution to the paper causes a color change from white to light blue at low concentrations and to pink at higher concentrations of triphosgene. The test strip is useful for quick on-site detection of triphosgene and diphosgene in reaction mixtures. The test strip is easy to perform and provides clear signal readouts indicative of the presence of phosgene precursors. The utility of this method was demonstrated by the qualitative determination of residual triphosgene during the production of poly(Bisphenol A carbonate).
triphosgene; phosgene; spectrophotometry; spectrofluorimetry; test strip; poly(Bisphenol A carbonate)
A combination of Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations and docking calculations was employed to model and predict polymer-drug interactions in self-assembled nanoparticles consisting of ABA-type triblock copolymers, where A-blocks are poly(ethylene glycol) units and B-blocks are low molecular weight tyrosine-derived polyarylates. This new computational approach was tested on three representative model compounds: nutraceutical curcumin, anti-cancer drug paclitaxel and pre-hormone vitamin D3. Based on this methodology, the calculated binding energies of polymer-drug complexes can be correlated with maximum drug loading determined experimentally. Furthermore, the modeling results provide an enhanced understanding of polymer-drug interactions, revealing subtle structural features that can significantly affect the effectiveness of drug loading (as demonstrated for a fourth tested compound, anticancer drug camptothecin). The present study suggests that computational calculations of polymer-drug pairs hold the potential of becoming a powerful prescreening tool in the process of discovery, development and optimization of new drug delivery systems, reducing both the time and the cost of the process.
nanoparticles; drug delivery; paclitaxel; vitamin D3; drug-polymer interactions; computational modeling; ab-initio; molecular dynamics; docking
In this review, we discuss the synthesis, characterization, physical properties, and applications of polymethacrylates and describe physical and biological structure-property correlations relevant to many high performance applications. We also track the advancement of material-property space from the ‘traditional’ mode of materials design to the emerging, state-of-the-art combinatorial and in silico methods. Particularly, this article places emphasis on recent advances in the automated combinatorial synthesis and development of high-throughput characterization methods. As a future perspective, we believe that the realization of combinatorial, high-throughput, and computational methods will allow for the rapid exploration of a vast polymethacrylate library property space.
polymethacrylates; biomaterials application; combinatorial; high-throughput; polymer libraries
This work is a part of a series of publications devoted to the development of surrogate (semi-empirical) models for the prediction of fibrinogen adsorption onto polymer surfaces. Since fibrinogen is one of the key proteins involved in platelet activation and the formation of thrombosis, the modeling of fibrinogen adsorption on the surface of blood contacting medical devices is of high theoretical and practical significance. We report here, for the first time, on the incorporation three-dimensional structures of polymers obtained from atomistic simulations into conventional mesoscopic-scale calculations. Low energy conformations derived from Molecular Dynamics simulations for 45 representatives of a combinatorial library of polyarylates were used in an improved modeling procedure (referred to as “3D surrogate model”) instead of simplistic two-dimensional representations of polymer structures, which were used in several previous models (collectively referred to as “2D surrogate models”). In the framework of this 3D model we created 12 model sets of polymers to account for their chirality, conformational diversity and the structural influence of a solvent. For each polymer set, three-dimensional molecular descriptors were generated and then ranked with respect to the experimental fibrinogen adsorption data by means of a Monte Carlo Decision Tree. The most significant descriptors identified by Decision Tree and the experimental dataset were utilized to predict fibrinogen adsorption using an Artificial Neural Network (ANN). The best prediction achieved by the 3D surrogate model demonstrated a noticeable improvement in the predictive quality as compared to the previously used 2D model (as evidenced by the increase in the average Pearson correlation coefficient from 0.67±0.13 to 0.54±0.12). The predictive quality of the 3D surrogate model compares favorably with the best results previously reported for extended 2D model that combines an ANN with Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression and principal component (PC) analysis. The significance of the newly developed 3D model is that it allows high accuracy prediction of fibrinogen adsorption without the need for experimentally derived descriptors and it has better predictive quality than the original 2D surrogate model due to utilization of realistic polymer representations.
biodegradable polyarylates; prediction of fibrinogen adsorption; computer-aided design
This paper attempts to illustrate both the need for new approaches to biomaterials discovery as well as the significant promise inherent in the use of combinatorial and computational design strategies. The key observation of this Leading Opinion Paper is that the biomaterials community has been slow to embrace advanced biomaterials discovery tools such as combinatorial methods, high throughput experimentation, and computational modeling in spite of the significant promise shown by these discovery tools in materials science, medicinal chemistry and the pharmaceutical industry. It seems that the complexity of living cells and their interactions with biomaterials has been a conceptual as well as a practical barrier to the use of advanced discovery tools in biomaterials science. However, with the continued increase in computer power, the goal of predicting the biological response of cells in contact with biomaterials surfaces is within reach. Once combinatorial synthesis, high throughput experimentation, and computational modeling are integrated into the biomaterials discovery process, a significant acceleration is possible in the pace of development of improved medical implants, tissue regeneration scaffolds, and gene/drug delivery systems.
Biomaterials design; computational modeling; combinatorial synthesis; high throughput experimentation
The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a hydrogel vehicle for sustained release of growth factors for wound healing applications. Hydrogels were fabricated using ultraviolet photo-crosslinking of acrylamide-functionalized nondegradable poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). Protein permeability was initially assessed using trypsin inhibitor (TI), a 21 000 MW model protein drug. TI permeability was altered by changing the solids content of the gel and by adding hydrophilic PVA fillers. As the PVA content increased from 10% to 20%, protein flux decreased, with no TI permeating through 20% PVA hydrogels. Further increase in model drug release was achieved by incorporating hydrophilic PVA fillers into the hydrogel. As filler molecular weight increased, TI flux increased. The mechanism for this is most likely an alteration in protein/gel interactions and transient variations in water content. The percent protein released was also altered by varying protein loading concentration. Release studies conducted using growth factor in vehicles with hydrophilic filler showed sustained release of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-β,β) for up to 3 days compared with less than 24 hours in the controls. In vitro bioactivity was demonstrated by doubling of normal human dermal fibroblas numbers when exposed to growth factor-loaded vehicle compared to control. The release vehicle developed in this study uses a rapid and simple fabrication method, and protein release can be tailored by modifying solid content, incorporating biocompatible hydrophilic fillers, and varying protein loading concentration.
photo-crosslinkable hydrogel; poly(vinyl alcohol); platelet-derived growth factor; bioactivity; sustained release