Published by MDPI
Online ISSN: 2073-4360
Tissue contacting surfaces of medical devices initiate a host inflammatory response, characterized by adsorption of blood proteins and inflammatory cells triggering the release of cytokines, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), in an attempt to clear or isolate the foreign object from the body. This normal host response contributes to device-associated pathophysiology and addressing device biocompatibility remains an unmet need. Although widespread attempts have been made to render the device surfaces unreactive, the establishment of a completely bioinert coating has been untenable and demonstrates the need to develop strategies based upon the molecular mechanisms that define the interaction between host cells and synthetic surfaces. In this review, we discuss a family of transmembrane receptors, known as immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM)-containing receptors, which show promise as potential targets to address aberrant biocompatibility. These receptors repress the immune response and ensure that the intensity of an immune response is appropriate for the stimuli. Particular emphasis will be placed on the known ITIM-containing receptor, Signal Regulatory Protein Alpha (SIRPhα), and its cognate ligand CD47. In addition, this review will discuss the potential of other ITIM-containing proteins as targets for addressing the aberrant biocompatibility of polymeric biomaterials.
The nanostructure of bone has been replicated using a polymer-induced liquid-precursor (PILP) mineralization process. This polymer-mediated crystallization process yields intrafibrillar mineralization of collagen with uniaxially-oriented hydroxyapatite crystals. The process-directing agent, an anionic polymer which we propose mimics the acidic non-collagenous proteins associated with bone formation, sequesters calcium and phosphate ions to form amorphous precursor droplets that can infiltrate the interstices of collagen fibrils. In search of a polymeric agent that produces the highest mineral content in the shortest time, we have studied the influence of various acidic polymers on the in vitro mineralization of collagen scaffolds via the PILP process. Among the polymers investigated were poly-L aspartic acid (PASP), poly-L-glutamic acid (PGLU), polyvinylphosphonic acid (PVPA), and polyacrylic acid (PAA). Our data indicate that PASP and the combination of PGLU/PASP formed stable mineralization solutions, and yielded nano-structured composites with the highest mineral content. Such studies contribute to our goal of preparing biomimetic bone graft substitutes with composition and structure that mimic bone.
In past two decades poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) has been among the most attractive polymeric candidates used to fabricate devices for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. PLGA is biocompatible and biodegradable, exhibits a wide range of erosion times, has tunable mechanical properties and most importantly, is a FDA approved polymer. In particular, PLGA has been extensively studied for the development of devices for controlled delivery of small molecule drugs, proteins and other macromolecules in commercial use and in research. This manuscript describes the various fabrication techniques for these devices and the factors affecting their degradation and drug release.
Poly[(organo)phosphazenes] are a unique class of extremely versatile polymers with a range of applications including tissue engineering and drug delivery, as hydrogels, shape memory polymers and as stimuli responsive materials. This review aims to divulge the basic principles of designing polyphosphazenes for drug and gene delivery and portray the huge potential of these extremely versatile materials for such applications. Polyphosphazenes offer a number of distinct advantages as carriers for bioconjugates; alongside their completely degradable backbone, to non-toxic degradation products, they possess an inherently and uniquely high functionality and, thanks to recent advances in their polymer chemistry, can be prepared with controlled molecular weights and narrow polydispersities, as well as self-assembled supra-molecular structures. Importantly, the rate of degradation/hydrolysis of the polymers can be carefully tuned to suit the desired application. In this review we detail the recent developments in the chemistry of polyphosphazenes, relevant to drug and gene delivery and describe recent investigations into their application in this field.
The shear modulus (G’) was determined for gels synthesized from various amounts of CMC-methacrylate (90 kDa) and PEG-DM with a total copolymer % (% CMC-methacrylate plus % PEG-DM) of 12 or 20 (n = 3–4). 
Hydrogel swelling ratios indicate that gels with increased % copolymer or increased PEG-DM content are associated with gels of increased crosslinking density. All pair-wise differences between gel types are statistically significant except between 16:4% CMC-methacrylate:% PEG-DM and either 5:7 or 12:8 (n = 3). 
BSA release rates were determined in order to calculate the effective diffusion coefficient, D e , for each gel type. D e was normalized by the diffusion coefficient of BSA in 
The morphology and viability of fibroblasts cultured for 24 h on RGD-modified 12:8% CMC-methacrylate/% PEG-DM gel substrates. Fibroblasts adherent to the gel surface imaged under (a) phase contrast to view cell morphology and (b) fluorescence microscopy to analyze the viability of cells stained with calcein (green) to label live cells and ethidium homodimer-1 (red; arrowheads) to label dead cells. Scale, 100 μm.
Many carbohydrates pose advantages for tissue engineering applications due to their hydrophilicity, degradability, and availability of chemical groups for modification. For example, carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is a water-soluble cellulose derivative that is degradable by cellulase. Though this enzyme is not synthesized by mammalian cells, cellulase and the fragments derived from CMC degradation are biocompatible. With this in mind, we created biocompatible, selectively degradable CMC-based hydrogels that are stable in routine culture, but degrade when exposed to exogenous cellulase. Solutions of CMC-methacrylate and polyethylene glycol dimethacrylate (PEG-DM) were co-crosslinked to form stable hydrogels; we found that greater CMC-methacrylate content resulted in increased gel swelling, protein diffusion and rates of degradation by cellulase, as well as decreased gel shear modulus. CMC-methacrylate/PEG-DM gels modified with the adhesive peptide RGD supported fibroblast adhesion and viability. We conclude that hydrogels based on CMC-methacrylate are suitable for bioengineering applications where selective degradability may be favorable, such as cell scaffolds or controlled release devices.
(a) Single-emulsion flow-focusing setup for generation of acrylic Janus particles; (b) Polymeric, dumbbell-shaped Janus particles; (c) Single-(left) and double-emulsion (middle) flow-focusing configuration for formation of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) particles (right); (d) Core-shell magnetic acrylamide microparticles with single and two cores. Figures adapted and reprinted with permission from [118] (a), [119] (b), [122] (c), and [123] (d). 
(a) Schematic and micrograph (inset) of an alginate microfiber, spatially coded to include either fibroblasts, rat hepatocytes, or a mixture of the two cell types. In the first case the cells were coded into the fiber serially; in the latter case the coding was parallel; (b) Higher magnification micrograph of a fiber section containing the cell co-culture. Figures adapted and reprinted with permission from [136]. 
(a) Electrospun poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) fibers containing pockets filled with media and cells; (b) Smooth fibers consisting of a bacteria-laden polyethylene oxide (PEO)-core and a polycaprolactone (PCL)-PEG shell; (c) Sketch of a bioprinting setup for formation of alginate gel structures (top), a branched alginate structure (middle) and a micrograph of the structure material at 40x magnification (bottom). Figures adapted and reprinted with permission from [12] (a), [142] (b), and [143] (c). 
Hydrogels in which cells are encapsulated are of great potential interest for tissue engineering applications. These gels provide a structure inside which cells can spread and proliferate. Such structures benefit from controlled microarchitectures that can affect the behavior of the enclosed cells. Microfabrication-based techniques are emerging as powerful approaches to generate such cell-encapsulating hydrogel structures. In this paper we introduce common hydrogels and their crosslinking methods and review the latest microscale approaches for generation of cell containing gel particles. We specifically focus on microfluidics-based methods and on techniques such as micromolding and electrospinning.
Molecules investigated. 
DFT calculated structures for molecules 1-5. 
Newman's projections for various conformations for the alkyl radical: (a) along the C3-C4 bond; (b) * C-C SOMO interaction; (c) along the C4· · · C2 axis; (d) along the C3-C2 bond. 
Conformations for the alkyl fragment 2-4. 
Pathways and expected TS [32] for the homolysis of 2 and 3 [33]. 
The rate constants kd of the homolysis of the C–ON bond in styryl dyads TEMPO-based alkoxyamines have recently been published (Li et al. Macromolecules 2006, 39, 9201). The diastereoisomers exhibited different values which were higher than for the unimer TEMPO-styryl alkoxyamine 1. At a first glance, the localization of the steric strain was not obvious. To decipher this problem, diastereoisomer models 2 (RR/SS) and 3 (RS/SR), as well as the released alkyl radicals, were calculated at the B3LYP/6-31G(d) level. It was revealed that the increase in kd from 1 to 3 was due to the compression (buttressing effect) of the reactive center by the second styryl moiety. The difference in kd for the diastereoisomer was clearly an activation entropy effect DS≠ because the alkyl fragment of the RS/SR diastereoismer exhibited the same conformation as the released radical whereas the conformation for the RR/SS diastereoisomer was quite different and thus required the rotation of several bonds to reach the correct TS, which cost DS≠, and thus lowers kd.
Conjugated carbazole polymers with various connectivities.  
Chemical structure of P6 and P7.  
Schematic energy level diagrams of P1–P5.  
Solvatochromic behaviors of UV-vis absorption (a, P4; c, P5) and fluorescence spectra (b, P4; d, P5) in CH 2 Cl 2 /MeOH mixtures.  
A new series of conjugated carbazole polymers based on the 1,8-carbazolylene unit was synthesized by the Pd-catalyzed polycondensation between the 1,8-diiodocarbazole derivative and various bifunctional counter comonomers. An alkyne spacer was found to be a key to increasing the molecular weight of the resulting polymers. All the obtained polymers showed good solubilities in the common organic solvents, and they were fully characterized by Gel permeation chromatography (GPC), and 1H NMR and infrared (IR) spectroscopies. The UV-vis absorption and fluorescence spectra revealed the relationship between the chemical structure and effective conjugation length. The efficiency order of the carbazole connectivity was 2,7-carbazolylene > 1,8-carbazolylene > 3,6-carbazolylene. The electrochemical properties of these polymers suggested the relatively facile oxidation at ca. +0.5–0.7 V vs. Fc/Fc+ or a high potential as p-type semiconductors. The combination of the electrochemical oxidation potentials and the optical band gaps allowed us to estimate the HOMO and LUMO levels of the polymers. It was shown that the energy levels of the 1,8-carbazole-based conjugated polymers can be tunable by selecting the appropriate comonomer structures.
Fibers that can provide topographical, biochemical and electrical cues would be attractive for directing the differentiation of stem cells into electro-responsive cells such as neuronal or muscular cells. Here we report on the fabrication of polypyrrole-incorporated collagen-based fibers via interfacial polyelectrolyte complexation (IPC). The mean ultimate tensile strength of the fibers is 304.0 ± 61.0 MPa and the Young’s Modulus is 10.4 ± 4.3 GPa. Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are cultured on the fibers in a proliferating medium and stimulated with an external electrical pulse generator for 5 and 10 days. The effects of polypyrrole in the fiber system can be observed, with hMSCs adopting a neuronal-like morphology at day 10, and through the upregulation of neural markers, such as noggin, MAP2, neurofilament, β tubulin III and nestin. This study demonstrates the potential of this fiber system as an attractive 3D scaffold for tissue engineering, where collagen is present on the fiber surface for cellular adhesion, and polypyrrole is encapsulated within the fiber for enhanced electrical communication in cell-substrate and cell-cell interactions.
Oxidative degradation of commercial grade ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) resin powders was studied by thermal analysis. The instabilities of ABS containing different polybutadiene (PB) contents with respect to temperature were studied by Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC). Thermograms of isothermal test and dynamic scanning were performed. Three exothermic peaks were observed and related to auto-oxidation, degradation and oxidative decomposition, respectively. Onset temperature of the auto-oxidation was determined to be around 193 °C. However, threshold temperature of oxidation was found to be as low as 140 °C by DSC isothermal testing. Another scan of the powder after degeneration in air showed an onset temperature of 127 °C. Reactive hazards of ABS powders were verified to be the exothermic oxidation of unsaturated PB domains, not the SAN (poly(styrene-acrylonitrile)) matrix. Heat of oxidation was first determined to be 2,800 ± 40 J per gram of ABS or 4,720 ± 20 J per gram of PB. Thermal hazards of processing ABS powder are assessed by adiabatic temperature rise at process conditions. IR spectroscopy associated with heat of oxidation verified the oxidative mechanism, and these evidences excluded the heat source from the degradation of SAN. A specially prepared powder of ABS without adding anti-oxidant was analyzed by DSC for comparing the exothermic behaviors. Exothermic onset temperatures were determined to be 120 °C and 80 °C by dynamic scanning and isothermal test, respectively. The assessment successfully explained fires and explosions in an ABS powder dryer and an ABS extruder.
During the last 60 years, the field of Macromolecular Science has broadened significantly and macromolecular or polymeric materials today constitute the most important class of materials. More than any other class of materials, polymers have revolutionized and enabled various technology platforms. The versatility in applications ranges from major structural components (the Airbus A380-800 or the Boeing 787 are built from 80% carbon fiber reinforced thermoset by volume) to high value added ingredients on the scale of grams as for use in lithography or drug delivery. Key to these systems is the direct control of the physical properties of the polymeric constituents, which in turn reflects fundamental advances in fields, including (i) polymerization methods, (ii) theory, simulation, and modeling, (iii) understanding of new physical phenomena, (iv) advances in characterization techniques, and (v) harnessing of self-assembly and biological strategies for producing complex multifunctional structures. Research activity in the field of Macromolecular Science continues to expand and attracts scientists from many other disciplines. [...]
Polymers is a new interdisciplinary, Open Access scientific journal on polymer science, published by Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI). This journal welcomes manuscript submissions on polymer chemistry, macromolecular chemistry, polymer physics, polymer characterization and all related topics. Both synthetic polymers and natural polymers, including biopolymers, are considered. Manuscripts will be thoroughly peer-reviewed in a timely fashion, and papers will be published, if accepted, within 6 to 8 weeks after submission. [...]
New polymers were synthesized from α-hydroxy acids derived from the natural amino acids Ile, Leu, Phe, and Val, combined with lactic acid, glycolic acid and 6-hydroxyhexanoic acid by direct condensation. The toxicity was determined and the degradation process of these polyesters was investigated under physiological conditions by analyzing the composition of the degraded polymers and the oligomers cleaved in the buffer medium. The polymers were found to be non toxic to two cell lines. Polymers displayed a biphasic degradation behavior. In most cases, a linear relationship was found between the weight loss constant and the hydrophobicity of the polymers, Log P. Regarding the second stage of weight loss, it is apparent that polymers derived from α-hydroxy(L)isoleucine ((L)HOIle) and α-hydroxy(L)Valine ((L)HOVal) degraded much faster than those derived from α-hydroxy(L)leucine ((L)HOLeu) and α-hydroxy(L)phenylalanine ((L)HOPhe), probably due to different spatial orientation of the side chains. Copolymers of 6-hydroxyhexanoic acid displayed slow degradation rates as expected, whereas the degradation profile of copolymers of lactic acid was similar to the other homopolymers. These new polyesters may serve as potential biocompatible materials for medical applications.
Nowadays, the utilization of raw materials derived from renewable feedstock is in the spotlight of the chemical industry, as vegetable oils are one of the most important platform chemicals due to their universal availability, inherent biodegradability and low price. Taking into account that polyurethanes are one of the most important industrial products exhibiting versatile properties suitable for use in many fields, our research is focused on exploiting fatty acids in the preparation of biobased polyols and polyurethanes. This review is organized as a function of the nature of the final polyurethane systems; hence we describe the preparation of linear thermoplastic and crosslinked polyurethanes derived from oleic and undecylenic acids-based diols and polyols, respectively.
When linear polytrithiocarbonates as Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) agents are employed in a radical polymerization, the resulting macromolecules consist of several homogeneous polymer blocks, interconnected by the functional groups of the respective RAFT agent. Via a second polymerization with another monomer, multiblock copolymers—polymers with alternating segments of both monomers—can be prepared. This strategy was examined mechanistically in detail based on subsequent RAFT polymerizations of styrene and butyl acrylate. Size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) of these polymers showed that the examined method yields low-disperse products. In some cases, resolved peaks for molecules with different numbers of blocks (polymer chains separated by the trithiocarbonate groups) could be observed. Cleavage of the polymers at the trithiocarbonate groups and SEC analysis of the products showed that the blocks in the middle of the polymers are longer than those at the ends and that the number of blocks corresponds to the number of functional groups in the initial RAFT agent. Furthermore, the produced multiblock copolymers were analyzed via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This work underlines that the examined methodology is very well suited for the synthesis of well-defined multiblock copolymers.
Electro-conductive hydrogels based on poly(vinyl alcohol), crosslinked with diethyl acetamidomalonate as the hydrogel component, were engineered using polyaniline as the inherently conductive component, and fabricated in the form of cylindrical devices to confer electro-actuable release of the model drug indomethacin. The hydrogels were characterized for their physicochemical and physicomechanical properties. Cyclic voltammetry was employed for electro-activity and conductivity analysis. Drug entrapment efficiency ranged from 65–70%. “ON-OFF” switchable drug release was obtained by periodically applying-removing-reapplying an electric potential ranging from 0.3–5.0 V for 60 seconds at hourly intervals and the cumulative drug release obtained ranged from 4.7–25.2% after four release cycles respectively. The electro-stimulated release of indomethacin was associated with the degree of crosslinking, the polymeric ratio and drug content. A Box-Behnken experimental design was constructed employing 1.2 V as the baseline potential difference. The devices demonstrated superior swellability and high diffusivity of indomethacin, in addition to high electrical conductivity with “ON-OFF” drug release kinetics via electrical switching. In order to investigate the electro-actuable release of indomethacin, molecular mechanics simulations using AMBER-force field were performed on systems containing water molecules and the poly(vinyl alcohol)-polyaniline composite under the influence of an external electric field. Various interaction energies were monitored to visualize the effect of the external electric field on the erosion of polyaniline from the co-polymeric matrix. This strategy allows the electro-conductive hydrogels to be suitably applied for controlled, local and electro-actuable drug release while sustaining a mild operating environment.
In this study, we succeeded in manufacturing a novel nanofiber hydrogel actuator that caused a bending and stretching motion synchronized with external pH oscillation, based on a bromate/sulfite/ferrocyanide reaction. The novel nanofiber gel actuator was composed of electrospun nanofibers synthesized by copolymerizing acrylic acid and hydrophobic butyl methacrylate as a solubility control site. By changing the electrospinning flow rate, the nanofiber gel actuator introduced an anisotropic internal structure into the gel. Therefore, the unsymmetrical motion of the nanofiber actuator was generated.
In this paper, we introduce autonomous gel actuators driven by chemical energy. The polymer gels prepared here have cyclic chemical reaction networks. With a cyclic reaction, the polymer gels generate periodical motion. The periodic motion of the gel is produced by the chemical energy of the oscillatory Belouzov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. We have succeeded in making synthetic polymer gel move autonomously like a living organism. This experimental fact represents the great possibility of the chemical robot.
Illustration of a volume transition in a cross-linked polybase network triggered by a pH change. 
Theoretical phase diagram and corresponding morphologies for diblock copolymers. The phases are indicated as follows: body centred cubic (BCC), hexagonal cylinders (HEX), gyroid (GYR) and lamellar (LAM). f A is the volume fraction of polymer block A,  the Flory-Huggins interaction parameter and N the total degree of polymerisation. Adapted with permission from [33]. Copyright 1996 American Chemical Society.
Schematic representation of the synthetic procedure and post-synthesis processing employed for the general preparation of a symmetrical triblock copolymer network using a bifunctional initiator.
Block copolymers are versatile designer macromolecules where a “bottom-up” approach can be used to create tailored materials with unique properties. These simple building blocks allow us to create actuators that convert energy from a variety of sources (such as chemical, electrical and heat) into mechanical energy. In this review we will discuss the advantages and potential pitfalls of using block copolymers to create actuators, putting emphasis on the ways in which these materials can be synthesised and processed. Particular attention will be given to the theoretical background of microphase separation and how the phase diagram can be used during the design process of actuators. Different types of actuation will be discussed throughout.
Typical two-dimensional (2D) atomic force microscope (AFM) images and surface profiles of glass ( a and d , respectively) and polyterpenol thin film surfaces fabricated at 10 W ( b and e , respectively) and 25 W ( c and f , respectively) from an approximately 10 μm × 10 μm scanned area. 
Surface hydrophobicity, surface tension, surface free energy, and atomic force microscope (AFM) analysis of the roughness parameters for the modified and substrate (glass) surfaces.
Representative S. aureus attachment patterns on the unmodified (left panel) glass, modified with 10 W (middle panel), and 25 W (right panel) polyterpenol thin coating after 18 h incubation. Images on the top collected using SEM; (inset) SEM images showing typical cell morphologies of the attached microorganisms. Confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) images (bottom) visualize viable cells stained green and dead cells stained red with BacLight ® Dead/Live Kit (Invitrogen), scanned areas of approximately 126 μm × 126 μm.
Quantification of S. aureus biovolume and average biofilm thickness on the surfaces of the unmodified glass and polymer coated substrata. 
Relative contributions of different chemical states on the surfaces of polyterpenol thin films assigned to the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) peaks.
The nanometer scale surface topography of a solid substrate is known to influence the extent of bacterial attachment and their subsequent proliferation to form biofilms. As an extension of our previous work on the development of a novel organic polymer coating for the prevention of growth of medically significant bacteria on three-dimensional solid surfaces, this study examines the effect of surface coating on the adhesion and proliferation tendencies of Staphylococcus aureus and compares to those previously investigated tendencies of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on similar coatings. Radio frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition was used to coat the surface of the substrate with thin film of terpinen-4-ol, a constituent of tea-tree oil known to inhibit the growth of a broad range of bacteria. The presence of the coating decreased the substrate surface roughness from approximately 2.1 nm to 0.4 nm. Similar to P. aeruginosa, S. aureus presented notably different patterns of attachment in response to the presence of the surface film, where the amount of attachment, extracellular polymeric substance production, and cell proliferation on the coated surface was found to be greatly reduced compared to that obtained on the unmodified surface. This work suggests that the antimicrobial and antifouling coating used in this study could be effectively integrated into medical and other clinically relevant devices to prevent bacterial growth and to minimize bacteria-associated adverse host responses.
Conductive adhesives are widely used in electronic packaging applications such as die attachment and solderless interconnections, component repair, display interconnections, and heat dissipation. The effects of film thickness as functions of filler volume fraction, conductive filler size, shape, as well as uncured adhesive matrix viscosity on the electrical conduction behavior of epoxy-based adhesives are presented in this work. For this purpose, epoxy-based adhesives were prepared using conductive fillers of different size, shape, and types, including Ni powder, flakes, and filaments, Ag powder, and Cu powder. The filaments were 20 μm in diameter, and 160 or 260 μm in length. HCl and H3PO4 acid solutions were used to etch and remove the surface oxide layers from the fillers. The plane resistance of filled adhesive films was measured using the four-point method. In all cases of conductive filler addition, the planar resistivity levels for the composite adhesive films increased when the film thickness was reduced. The shape of resistivity-thickness curves was negative exponential decaying type and was modeled using a mathematical relation. The relationships between the conductive film resistivities and the filler volume fractions were also derived mathematically based on the experimental data. Thus, the effects of surface treatment of filler particles, the type, size, shape of fillers, and the uncured epoxy viscosity could be included empirically by using these mathematical relations based on the experimental data. By utilizing the relations we proposed to model thickness-dependent and volume fraction-dependent conduction behaviors separately, we were able to describe the combined and coupled volume fraction-film thickness relationship mathematically based on our experimental data.
Schematic of the eye-ball structure.
Example of intravitreal drug delivery systems for vitreoretinal diseases. Adapted from Kuno, N.; Fujii, S. Biodegradable intraocular therapies for retinal disorders. Drugs Aging 2010, 27, 117-134. with permission from Adis, a Wolters Kluwer business (© Adis Data Information BV 2010. All rights reserved, by permission from Informa Healthcare: Current Eye Research [10], copyright 2010).
Schematic of corneal structure and its cellular organization of various transport-limiting barriers. (Adapted from Cornea, 2nd Edition, vol 1. Nishida T. Cornea, Page 4. Copyright Elsevier 2005).
Shematic representations of subconjunctival or episcleral blood vessels, and lymphatics network. (Adapted from Robinson MR, Lee SS, Kim H, et al. A rabbit model for assessing the ocular barriers to the transscleral delivery of triamcinolone acetonide, Exp. Eye Res. 2006, 82, 479-487. with permission from Elsevier Inc., and The Human Eye with permission from Sinauer Associates, Inc., copyright 1999).
Schematic of blood-retinal barrier, and capillary wall in the retina and the choroid.
Transport of drugs applied by traditional dosage forms is restricted to the eye, and therapeutic drug concentrations in the target tissues are not maintained for a long duration since the eyes are protected by a unique anatomy and physiology. For the treatment of the anterior segment of the eye, various droppable products to prolong the retention time on the ocular surface have been introduced in the market. On the other hand, direct intravitreal implants, using biodegradable or non-biodegradable polymer technology, have been widely investigated for the treatment of chronic vitreoretinal diseases. There is urgent need to develop ocular drug delivery systems which provide controlled release for the treatment of chronic diseases, and increase patient’s and doctor’s convenience to reduce the dosing frequency and invasive treatment. In this article, progress of ocular drug delivery systems under clinical trials and in late experimental stage is reviewed.
The aim of this study was to investigate non-viral pDNA carriers based on diblock-copolymers consisting of poly(2-(dimethyl amino)ethyl methacrylate) (pDMAEMA) and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA). Specifically the block-lengths and molecular weights were varied to determine the minimal requirements for transfection. Such vectors should allow better transfection at acceptable toxicity levels and the entire diblock-copolymer should be suitable for renal clearance. For this purpose, a library of linear poly(2-(dimethyl amino)ethyl methacrylate-block-poly(2-hydroxyl methacrylate) (pDMAEMA-block-pHEMA) copolymers was synthesized via RAFT (reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer) polymerization in a molecular weight (Mw) range of 17–35.7 kDa and analyzed using 1H and 13C NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), ATR (attenuated total reflectance), GPC (gel permeation chromatography) and DSC (differential scanning calorimetry). Copolymers possessing short pDMAEMA-polycation chains were 1.4–9.7 times less toxic in vitro than polyethylenimine (PEI) 25 kDa, and complexed DNA into polyplexes of 100–170 nm, favorable for cellular uptake. The DNA-binding affinity and polyplex stability against competing polyanions was comparable with PEI 25 kDa. The zeta-potential of polyplexes of pDMAEMA-grafted copolymers remained positive (+15–30 mV). In comparison with earlier reported low molecular weight homo pDMAEMA vectors, these diblock-copolymers showed enhanced transfection efficacy under in vitro conditions due to their lower cytotoxicity, efficient cellular uptake and DNA packaging. The homo pDMAEMA115 (18.3 kDa) self-assembled with DNA into small positively charged polyplexes, but was not able to transfect cells. The grafting of 6 and 57 repeating units of pHEMA (0.8 and 7.4 kDa) to pDMAEMA115 increased the transfection efficacy significantly, implying a crucial impact of pHEMA on vector-cell interactions. The intracellular trafficking, in vivo transfection efficacy and kinetics of low molecular weight pDMAEMA-block-pHEMA are subject of ongoing studies.
1 H NMR spectrum of a) 3a and b) 3 both in CDCl 3 . 
Polymerization data for the dual functional chain transfer agents. 
1 H NMR spectrum of 4 in CDCl 3 . 
In this paper we will describe the synthesis and characterization of a series of novel chain transfer agents for application in reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT). The facile and mild conditions used for the synthesis of these new chain transfer agents should allow for the application of these methods for the preparation of a wide range of multifunctional chain transfer agent species. Some initial polymerization data for these multifunctional chain transfer agents is also reported.
1 H NMR spectra recorded at room temperature before (1) and after (3) thermolysis of 1a (a), 2a (c) in FSol and 3a (e) in m-C 6 D 4 Cl 2 and spectra with polarized signals obtained during the thermolysis (2). 1 H NMR spectra recorded at different time intervals from the beginning of the reaction during thermolysis of 1a (b) at 398 K, 0.02 M solution of alkoxyamine in FSol, 5.5 eq of thiophenol, 2a (d) at 386 K, 0.02 M solution of alkoxyamine in FSol, 3 eq of thiophenol, 3a (f) at 386 K, 0.02 M solution of alkoxyamine in m-C 6 D 4 Cl 2 , 6 eq of thiophenol. Signs of polarization: E-aa, a(-H), aH; A-1a-3a. Inset: enlargement of the chemical shift zone for a(-H) of 3a.
Kinetics of polarized signals (normalized) during thermolysis of 0.02 M solution of alkoxyamines in FSol 2a (a) at 386 K in the presence of 3 eq. of thiophenol and 3a (a) at 386 K in m -C 6 D 4 Cl 2 in the presence of 6 eq of thiophenol: ( ■)— alkoxyamine 2a , 
Kinetics of polarized NMR line of alkene a(-H) during thermolysis of 0.02 M solution of 3a (b) in m -C 6 D 4 Cl 2 at 386 K in the presence of 6 eq of thiophenol : 
Kinetics of CIDNP on alkoxyamine 1a during thermolysis of 0.02 M solution of alkoxyamine in FSol in the presence of thiophenol and its fit (line) with monoexponent in semi-logarithmic scale: 361 K, [PhSH] = 0.1 M ( ■), 373 K, [PhSH] = 0.136 M (●), 398 K, [PhSH] = 0.13 M (▼). The values of k obs obtained from the fit: 361 K — k obs = 2.0 × 10 −3 s −1 , 
Scheme 1. The mechanism of NMP with side reactions of H-atom transfer.
Thermal decomposition of alkoxyamines in the presence of scavengers was found to proceed with the formation of chemically induced nuclear polarization detected by 1H NMR. The distinctive Chemically Induced Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (CIDNP) features were studied using the example of three alkoxyamines: 4-nitrophenyl 2-(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-1-yloxy)-2-methylpropanoate (1a), 4-nitrophenyl 2-(2,2-diphenyl-3-phenylimino-2,3-dihydroindol-1-yloxy)-2-methylpropanoate (2a) and 4-nitrophenyl 2-(2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-4-phenyl-2H-imidazol-1-oxy)-2-methylpropanoate (3a) in the presence of PhSH. The analysis of CIDNP signs of methacrylate protons allows us to conclude on the occurrence of hydrogen atom transfer reaction in geminate radical pair formed in alkoxyamine thermolysis. Thus, CIDNP is a fast and sensitive method to detect the occurrence of intra/intermolecular hydrogen transfer in alkoxyamine thermolysis.
Transverse sections of etched (100 g/L citric acid, pH 2.2, 2 min) human and bovine coronal dentine (deep layer): SEM images ×2,000 (a) human dentine, (b) bovine dentine; AFM image (c) bovine dentine.
AFM images of bovine dentine (different areas) pre-etched (100 g/L citric acid, pH 2.2) for 10 s, 2 min, 3 min and 30 min. 
Measurements of phosphorus released as phosphate by erosion with citric acid (10 g/L, pH 3.75; 37.0 ° C) of untreated dental specimens: (i,•) bovine dentine (ICP-MS), (ii,■) hydroxyapatite discs (ICP-MS), and (iii,♦) hydroxyapatite discs (phosphovanadomolybdate complex absorbance); n = 15, error bars represent standard deviations.
An in vitro method for the time-resolved quantification of acid-mediated tooth demineralisation has been developed and evaluated against putative non-permanent protective formulations based on a series of poly(alkyl methacrylate)s. Using a thermostatted carousel, dentally relevant substrates consisting of hydroxyapatite discs or sections of bovine teeth have been exposed to aqueous citric acid under controlled conditions, before and after being treated with the polymeric coatings. The dissolution of phosphate was monitored by the determination of 31P by Inductively Coupled Plasma—Mass Spectrometry and by the spectrophotometric phosphovanadomolybdate method. Dose-response plots constructed for both groups of treated substrates have revealed that the coatings significantly reduce erosion rates but are less effective at inhibiting tooth demineralisation than the standard fluoride treatment. The approach has enabled an evaluation of the erosion-protection efficiency of each coating.
Poly(ester amide)s are an emerging group of biodegradable polymers that may cover both commodity and speciality applications. These polymers have ester and amide groups on their chemical structure which are of a degradable character and provide good thermal and mechanical properties. In this sense, the strong hydrogen‑bonding interactions between amide groups may counter some typical weaknesses of aliphatic polyesters like for example poly(e-caprolactone). Poly(ester amide)s can be prepared from different monomers and following different synthetic methodologies which lead to polymers with random, blocky and ordered microstructures. Properties like hydrophilic/hydrophobic ratio and biodegradability can easily be tuned. During the last decade a great effort has been made to get functionalized poly(ester amide)s by incorporation of a-amino acids with hydroxyl, carboxyl and amine pendant groups and also by incorporation of carbon-carbon double bonds in both the polymer main chain and the side groups. Specific applications of these materials in the biomedical field are just being developed and are reviewed in this work (e.g., controlled drug delivery systems, hydrogels, tissue engineering and other uses like adhesives and smart materials) together with the main families of functionalized poly(ester amide)s that have been developed to date.
A series of fluorinated sulfonated poly (ether amide)s (SPAs) were synthesized for proton exchange membrane fuel cell applications. A polycondensation reaction of 4,4’-oxydianiline, 2-sulfoterephthalic acid monosodium salt, and tetrafluorophenylene dicarboxylic acids (terephthalic and isophthalic) or fluoroaliphatic dicarboxylic acids produced SPAs with sulfonation degrees of 80–90%. Controlling the feed ratio of the sulfonated and unsulfonated dicarboxylic acid monomers afforded random SPAs with ion exchange capacities between 1.7 and 2.2 meq/g and good solubility in polar aprotic solvents. Their structures were characterized using NMR and FT IR spectroscopies. Tough, flexible, and transparent films were obtained with dimethylsulfoxide using a solution casting method. Most SPA membranes with 90% sulfonation degree showed high proton conductivity (>100 mS/cm) at 80 °C and 100% relative humidity. Among them, two outstanding ionomers (ODA-STA-TPA-90 and ODA-STA-IPA-90) showed proton conductivity comparable to that of Nafion 117 between 40 and 80 °C. The influence of chemical structure on the membrane properties was systematically investigated by comparing the fluorinated polymers to their hydrogenated counterparts. The results suggest that the incorporation of fluorinated moieties in the polymer backbone of the membrane reduces water absorption. High molecular weight and the resulting physical entanglement of the polymers chains played a more important role in improving stability in water, however.
Maximum water sorption (WS max ; mean + SD) values in BTHZ, ETHM and UPHM copolymers and their ACP composites attained after 1 month immersion in buffered saline solutions at 23 °C. Number of specimens in each experimental group n = 5.
Composition (mass fraction %) of experimental resins evaluated in the study.
Thermodynamic stability expressed as Gibbs free energy (ΔG o ) of the solutions containing maximum levels of calcium and phosphate ions released from BTHZ/ACP, ETHM/ACP and UPHM/ACP composites. Number of samples in each group n = 3. Negative ΔG o values indicate solutions supersaturated with respect to stoichiometric apatite.  
Biaxial flexure strength (BFS; mean value + SD) of dry (before immersion) and wet (after 1 mo immersion in buffered saline solution) copolymer and composite specimens. Number of specimens tested in each group 5 ≤ n ≤ 18.
For over a decade our group has been designing, preparing and evaluating bioactive, remineralizing composites based on amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) fillers embedded in polymerized methacrylate resin matrices. In these studies a major focus has been on exploring structure-property relationships of the matrix phase of these composites on their anti-cariogenic potential. The main challenges were to gain a better understanding of polymer matrix/filler interfacial properties through controlling the surface properties of the fillers or through fine-tuning of the resin matrix. In this work, we describe the effect of chemical structure and composition of the resin matrices on some of the critical physicochemical properties of the copolymers and their ACP composites. Such structure-property studies are essential in formulating clinically effective products, and this knowledge base is likely to have strong impact on the future design of therapeutic materials, appropriate for mineral restoration in defective tooth structures.
The first successful synthesis of a new rod-rod-rod triblock copolymer, polyacetylene(PA)-b-poly(3-hexylthiophene)(P3HT)-b-PA could be synthesized by a combination of quasi-living Grignard metathesis (GRIM) and living anionic polymerization. We first confirmed that poly(4-tolyl vinyl sulfoxide) (PTVS), which is a soluble precursor for PA, could be synthesized by living anionic polymerization in THF at −78 °C, initiated with 3-methyl-1,1-diphenylpentyllithium as the initiator in the presence of in situ-generated lithium enolate. The molecular weights (MWs) and polydispersities (PDIs) were well controlled (MW = 5,200–27,000, PDI = 1.10–1.22), respectively. A coil-rod-coil triblock copolymer, PTVS-b-P3HT-b-PTVS, (6,000-12,500-6,000) could also be synthesized, initiated with a P3HT-based difunctional macroinitiator in the presence of lithium enolate. GPC-RALLS and 1H NMR analyses confirmed a high degree of structural homogeneity of PTVS-b-P3HT-b-PTVS. A thermal transformation reaction of the polymer was carried out in the film state at 170 °C for 2 h to afford PA-b-P3HT-b-PA quantitatively, as monitored by TGA and FT-IR analyses. The optical and electronic properties as well as the morphological behavior of the block copolymers were investigated by UV-vis spectroscopy, conductivity measurement, and AFM observation.
Ternary hybrid film composed of a-zirconium phosphate nanosheet, 1,2-bis(dimethylchlorosilyl)ethane and polypyrrole was prepared by anodic electrodeposition. In the hybrid film, ordered a-zirconium nanosheets with grafts by silylation lay down parallel to the substrate and the polypyrrole molecules were intercalated between the nanosheets. The electrochemical measurements confirmed that the hybrid film indicated capacitive behavior and the redox activity increase by approximately 25%.
Schematic representation of biofilm formation. ( A ) Proteins from the patient rapidly adsorb onto the surface of an implanted device and form a good substrate for planktonic, free-swimming bacteria to adhere to. ( B ) The sessile bacteria will recruit additional bacteria from the direct environment and also proliferate on the surface. ( C ) The adhered bacteria change gene expression patterns and start producing the extracellular polymeric substance, the main component of the biofilm. ( D ) The biofilm slowly grows and microcolonies of bacteria form inside the biofilm. ( E ) Finally, small parts of the biofilm can break off and planktonic bacteria escape from the biofilm and can invade new, clean surfaces at distant sites. 
Polymer brush surfaces: The non-hydrated polymers are randomly packed on the surface ( A ) and will create a tightly packed highly hydrated brush in aqueous environment ( B ). Proteins or microbes encountering the brush surface will be repelled by steric hindrance due to the bound water in the brush and the elasticity of the polymer chains ( C , D ). 
Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs): Soluble forms of the QACs include benzalkonium chloride (A) . The compound only has antimicrobial activity if the alkyl chain (R 2 ) contains between 4 and 18 (stearalkonium) carbon atoms. (B) Polymers 
Bacterial infection from medical devices is a major problem and accounts for an increasing number of deaths as well as high medical costs. Many different strategies have been developed to decrease the incidence of medical device related infection. One way to prevent infection is by modifying the surface of the devices in such a way that no bacterial adhesion can occur. This requires modification of the complete surface with, mostly, hydrophilic polymeric surface coatings. These materials are designed to be non-fouling, meaning that protein adsorption and subsequent microbial adhesion are minimized. Incorporation of antimicrobial agents in the bulk material or as a surface coating has been considered a viable alternative for systemic application of antibiotics. However, the manifestation of more and more multi-drug resistant bacterial strains restrains the use of antibiotics in a preventive strategy. The application of silver nanoparticles on the surface of medical devices has been used to prevent bacterial adhesion and subsequent biofilm formation. The nanoparticles are either deposited directly on the device surface, or applied in a polymeric surface coating. The silver is slowly released from the surface, thereby killing the bacteria present near the surface. In the last decade there has been a surplus of studies applying the concept of silver nanoparticles as an antimicrobial agent on a range of different medical devices. The main problem however is that the exact antimicrobial mechanism of silver remains unclear. Additionally, the antimicrobial efficacy of silver on medical devices varies to a great extent. Here we will review existing antimicrobial coating strategies and discuss the use of silver or silver nanoparticles on surfaces that are designed to prevent medical device related infections.
Aqueous two-phase systems consisting of polyethylene glycol (PEG), sodium polyacrylate (NaPAA), and a salt have been studied. The effects of the polymer size, salt type (NaCl, Na2SO4, sodium adipate and sodium azelate) and salt concentrations on the position of the binodal curve were investigated. The investigated PEG molecules had a molar mass of 2,000 to 8,000 g/mol, while that of NaPAA was 8,000 g/mol. Experimental phase diagrams, and tie lines and calculated phase diagrams, based on Flory-Huggins theory of polymer solutions are presented. Due to strong enthalpic and entropic balancing forces, the hydrophobicity of the added salt has a strong influence on the position of the binodal, which could be reproduced by model calculations.
Selectively plasma-etched polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) diblock copolymer masks present a promising alternative for subsequent nanoscale patterning of underlying films. Because mask roughness can be detrimental to pattern transfer, this study examines roughness formation, with a focus on the role of cross-linking, during plasma etching of PS and PMMA. Variables include ion bombardment energy, polymer molecular weight and etch gas mixture. Roughness data support a proposed model in which surface roughness is attributed to polymer aggregation associated with cross-linking induced by energetic ion bombardment. In this model, RMS roughness peaks when cross-linking rates are comparable to chain scissioning rates, and drop to negligible levels for either very low or very high rates of cross-linking. Aggregation is minimal for very low rates of cross-linking, while very high rates produce a continuous cross-linked surface layer with low roughness. Molecular weight shows a negligible effect on roughness, while the introduction of H and F atoms suppresses roughness, apparently by terminating dangling bonds. For PS etched in Ar/O2 plasmas, roughness decreases with increasing ion energy are tentatively attributed to the formation of a continuous cross-linked layer, while roughness increases with ion energy for PMMA are attributed to increases in cross-linking from negligible to moderate levels.
A series of segmented multiblock copolymers containing aramid hard segments and extended polycaprolactone soft segments (with an Mn of 4,200 or 8,200 g mol–1) was prepared and tested for their shape-memory properties. Chain extenders were essential to raise the hard segment concentration so that an extended rubbery plateau could be observed. Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis provided a useful guide in identifying (i) the presence of a rubbery plateau, (ii) the flow temperature, and (iii) the temperature when samples started to deform irreversibly.
Dendrigraft polymers have a multi-level branched architecture resulting from the covalent assembly of macromolecular building blocks. Most of these materials are obtained in divergent (core-first) synthetic procedures whereby the molecule grows outwards in successive grafting reactions or generations. Two main types of dendrigraft polymers can be identified depending on the distribution of reactive sites over the grafting substrate: Arborescent polymers have a large and variable number of more or less uniformly distributed sites, while dendrimer-like star polymers have a lower but well-defined number of grafting sites strictly located at the ends of the substrate chains. An overview of the synthesis and the characterization of dendrigraft copolymers with phase-segregated morphologies is provided in this review for both dendrigraft polymer families. The tethering of side-chains with a different composition onto branched substrates confers unusual physical properties to these copolymers, which are highlighted through selected examples.
Laboratory preparations of liquid crystalline prepolymers, distillates accompanying prepolymers, final polymers, and sublimates accompanying final polymers were examined. NaOD/D2O depolymerization of prepolymers and polymers back to monomers with integration of the 1H NMR spectra showed up to 6% excess of carboxyls over phenol groups, caused partly by loss of the low-boiling comonomer hydroquinone through distillation during prepolymerization and leaving anhydride units in the polymer chain. ESI− MS and MS/MS of hexafluoroisopropanol extracts of the prepolymer detected small molecules including some containing anhydride groups; ESI+ MS showed the presence of small cyclic oligomers. 1H NMR (including TOCSY) spectra provided more quantitative analyses of these oligomers. The final polymerization increases the length of the polymer chains and sublimes out the small oligomers. Anhydride linkages remaining in the polymer must make LCP’s more susceptible to degradation by nucleophilic reagents such as water, alkalis, and amines.
Schematics of the bottom-up assembly of planar films and spherical particles using polyelectrolyte multilayers, particles, nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes (the bottom row and the middle row). Evaporative self-assembly of particles and polyelectrolyte layers is also shown (the top row). 
Confocal scanning laser microscope (CLSM) transmission microscopy images of evaporative self-assembly of (a) silica and (b) polyelectrolyte coated silica particles on cleaned glass substrates, and (c) polyelectrolyte coated silica particles on a PEI coated glass slide. (d) Adsorption of coated silica particles onto a PEI coated glass slide in an aqueous solution. The scale bars correspond to 20 m.
( a ) Schematics (left) and top view in CLSM images (right) of a double layer self-assembly of PEM spheres. The right-hand side image shows an enlarged section of the middle panel. The scale bar corresponds to 20  m. ( b ) Schematics (left) and top view in CLSM images (right) of self-assembly of a smaller polyelectrolyte coated silica colloidal particle array into the spaces between larger spheres. Red fluorescence originates from PAH-TRITC labeling of smaller silica particles. The scale bars correspond to 5  m. 
( a ) QCM measurement during deposition of polyelectrolyte layers and negative magnetic nanoparticles. ( b ) AFM and ( c ) TEM images of magnetite/polyelectrolyte film with negative nanoparticles, respectively. ( d ) QCM measurement during deposition of polyelectrolyte layers and positively charged magnetic nanoparticles. ( e ) AFM and ( f ) TEM images of magnetite/polyelectrolyte film with positively charged nanoparticles, respectively. The area of AFM scans is 5 × 5  m 2 , the scale bars in the TEM images 
Raman spectrum of films containing polyelectrolyte multilayers with multilayer MWCNTs; the inset shows schematics of the formation of such assembly. 
Assembling polyelectrolyte multilayers in a bottom-up approach is reported for polymers, particles, nanoparticles, and carbon nanotubes. Effects of polyelectrolyte multilayers on evaporative self-assembly of particles, which are of interest to a number of applications including photonic crystals, films and substrates, are investigated. Polyelectrolyte multilayer coatings bring multifunctionality to spherical particles and planar films. Studying the construction of polyelectrolyte assemblies is convenient in the planar layout: it is reported here for incorporation of gold and magnetic nanoparticles as well as of carbon nanotubes. Gold nanoparticles concentration is controlled within the films. Potential applications of both spherical structures and planar films are highlighted.
The computational domain, 1-4 internal boundaries, 5-8 external boundries, S-Stronger confinement region, W-Weaker confinement region.
The Q tensor field is visualized using the MATLAB function plotDTI developed by Barmpoutis et al. [48]. Disclination lines of τ type and splitting disclination cores into different pairs of disclinations: ( a ) τ +1/2 , ( b ) τ − 1/2 , ( c ) λ − 1 , ( d ) τ − 1/2 λ +1/2 , ( e ) λ − 1/2 λ +1/2 
Simulation results for chiral nematic self assembly at dimensionless time t = 100, for length scales ξ/p 0 = 0.05, h/p o = 20, and U = 6 for varying . Surface plots of out-of-plane component |n z | of the director field (left) and chiral order parameter q (right). The elastic anisotropies are 1 (a),(b); 5 (c),(d); 21 (e)(f).
Simulation results for chiral nematic self assembly at t = 100, for length scales ξ/h 0 = 0.0025, υ= 1 and U = 6, for varying (ξ/p 0 ). Surface plots of chiral order parameter q (left) and out-of-plane component |n z | of the director field (right). (ξ/p 0 ) are 0.05 (a) and (b); 0.025 (c) and (d); 0.025 (e) and (f).
Simulation results for chiral nematic self assembly at t = 100, for length scales (ξ/p 0 ) = 0.05, υ = 1and U = 6, for varying (ξ/h 0 ). Surface plots of chiral order parameter q (left) and out-of-plane component |n z | of the director field (right). (ξ/h 0 ) are 0.0025 (a) and (b); 0.005 (c) and (d); 0.01 (e) and (f).
Biological liquid crystalline polymers are found in cellulosic, chitin, and DNA based natural materials. Chiral nematic liquid crystalline orientational order is observed frozen-in in the solid state in plant cell walls and is known as a liquid crystal analogue characterized by a helicoidal plywood architecture. The emergence of the plywood architecture by directed chiral nematic liquid crystalline self assembly has been postulated as the mechanism that leads to optimal cellulose fibril organization. In natural systems, tissue growth and development takes place in the presence of inclusions and secondary phases leaving behind characteristic defects and textures, which provide a unique testing ground for the validity of the liquid crystal self-assembly postulate. In this work, a mathematical model, based on the Landau-de Gennes theory of liquid crystals, is used to simulate defect textures arising in the domain of self assembly, due to presence of secondary phases representing plant cells, lumens and pit canals. It is shown that the obtained defect patterns observed in some plant cell walls are those expected from a truly liquid crystalline phase. The analysis reveals the nature and magnitude of the viscoelastic material parameters that lead to observed patterns in plant-based helicoids through directed self-assembly. In addition, the results provide new guidance to develop biomimetic plywoods for structural and functional applications.
Environmentally responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) brushes were grafted from the surface of polymer particles or flat surfaces in order to generate reversible hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces. The use of atom transfer radical polymerization was demonstrated for the grafting of polymer brushes as it allows efficient control on the amount of grafted polymer. The polymer particles were generated with or without surfactant in the emulsion polymerization and their surface could be modified with the atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) initiator. The uniform functionalization of the surface with ATRP initiator was responsible for the uniform grafting of polymer brushes. The grafted brushes responded reversibly with changes in temperature indicating that the reversible responsive behavior could be translated to the particle surfaces. The particles were observed to adsorb and desorb protein and virus molecules by changing the temperatures below or higher than 32 °C. The initiator functionalized particles could also be adsorbed on the flat surfaces. The adsorption process also required optimization of the heat treatment conditions to form a uniform layer of the particles on the substrate. The grafted polymer brushes also responded to the changes in temperatures similar to the spherical particles studied through water droplets placed on the flat substrates.
Infrared (IR) absorption spectra for the (R)-LC, P1LC, P2LC, P1T, and P2T with the KBr method.  
UV-vis absorption spectra for P1LC (gray solid line), P1T (gray dashed line), P2LC (black solid line), and P2T (black dashed line) in chloroform solutions (c = 5 × 10 −5 M).  
POM images of the reaction mixture of P2LC before polymerization (a) and P2LC after polymerization (b).  
We carried out polycondensation of monomers bearing a bulky pyrimidine substituent in a liquid crystal solvent. The resultant polymers formed nematic liquid crystals. The polymers prepared in liquid crystals had higher coplanarity than the polymers prepared in toluene. This can be due to the fact that the ordered medium of the liquid crystal produces an aggregated structure with well-developed π-stacking between the main chains. The present results demonstrated that polymerization of bulky monomers is possible in liquid crystal solvents.
We succeeded in causing transmittance self-oscillations of a novel self-oscillating polymer chain induced by the Belouzov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction under constant conditions. The novel polymer chain was composed of a biocompatible and non-thermoresponsive poly-vinylpyrrolidone (PVP) main-chain, covalently-bonded to the ruthenium catalyst (Ru(bpy)3) of the BZ reaction. We investigated the influence of initial substrate concentrations of the three BZ substrates on the transmittance self-oscillation of the novel polymer solution. As a result, we demonstrated that the width of the transmittance self-oscillation is significantly affected by these initial concentrations. However, the amplitude of the transmittance self-oscillation is hardly affected by the BZ substrate conditions. Furthermore, the period of the self‑oscillation has a good linear relationship to the concentration of the BZ substrates. Therefore, the period of the self-oscillation can be controlled by the selection of the initial concentrations of the BZ substrates.
Advantages of Core-Shell Architectured NanoSystems in NanoMedicine. 
Universal Illustration of Bio-inspired Core-Shell Nanostructures. 
Selective Preparation Methods for Polymer-incorporated Core-Shell Nanostructures. 
Synopsis of some previous works studying the development of novel L-b-L self-assembled Core-Shell Hybrid Nanoparticles.
Modern breakthroughs in the fields of proteomics and DNA micro-arrays have widened the horizons of nanotechnology for applications with peptides and nucleic acids. Hence, biomimetic interest in the study and formulation of nanoscaled bio-structures, -materials, -devices and -therapeutic agent delivery vehicles has been recently increasing. Many of the currently–investigated functionalized bio-nanosystems draw their inspiration from naturally-occurring phenomenon, prompting the integration of molecular signals and mimicking natural processes, at the cell, tissue and organ levels. Technologically, the ability to obtain spherical nanostructures exhibiting combinations of several properties that neither individual material possesses on its own renders colloidal core-shell architectured nanosystems particularly attractive. The three main developments presently foreseen in the nanomedicine sub-arena of nanobiotechnology are: sensorization (biosensors/ biodetection), diagnosis (biomarkers/bioimaging) and drug, protein or gene delivery (systemic vs. localized/targeted controlled–release systems). Advances in bio-applications such as cell-labelling/cell membrane modelling, agent delivery and targeting, tissue engineering, organ regeneration, nanoncology and immunoassay strategies, along the major limitations and potential future and advances are highlighted in this review. Herein, is an attempt to address some of the most recent works focusing on bio-inspired and -functional polymeric-based core-shell nanoparticulate systems aimed for agent delivery. It is founded, mostly, on specialized research and review articles that have emerged during the last ten years.
Today, demand exists for new systems that can meet the challenges of identifying biological entities rapidly and specifically in diagnostics, developing stable and multifunctional membranes, and engineering devices at the nanometer scale. In this respect, bio-decorated membranes combine the specificity and efficacy of biological entities, such as peptides, proteins, and DNA, with stability and the opportunity to chemically tailor the properties of polymeric membranes. A smart strategy that serves to fulfill biological criteria is required, whereby polymer membranes come to mimic biological membranes and do not disturb but rather enhance the functioning and activity of a biological entity. Different approaches have been developed, exemplified by either planar or vesicular membranes, allowing insertion inside the polymer membrane or anchoring via functionalization of the membrane surface. Inspired by nature, but incorporating the strength provided by chemical design, bio-decorated polymer membranes represent a novel concept with great potential in diagnostics and therapeutics.
Relative cell growth on PEU-1 series at 96 hours. (n = 12 for controls and 6 for test materials). 
Medical polyurethanes have shown good bio-stability and mechanical properties and have been used as coating for implantable medical devices. However, despite their excellent properties, they are relatively permeable to liquid water and water vapour which is a drawback for electronic implant encapsulation. In this study polyether polyurethanes with different soft segment molecular weights were modified by incorporating isopropyl myristate (IPM), as a hydrophobic modifying agent, and the effect of IPM on water resistant and biocompatibility of membranes were investigated. IPM changed the surface properties of the polyurethane film and reduced its surface energy. Polyurethane films were found to be stable with IPM concentrations of 1–5 wt% based upon their chemistry; however it leached out in BSA at higher concentrations. Though, low concentrations of IPM reduced both liquid water and water vapour permeability; at higher IPM content liquid permeability did not improved significantly. In general, the polyurethane materials showed much lower water permeability compared with currently used silicone packaging material for electronic implants. In addition, cytotoxicity assessment of IPM containing polyurethanes showed no evidence of cytotoxcity up to 5 wt% IPM.
Heparin and four-armed, end-functionalized polyethylene glycol (starPEG) were recently combined in sets of covalently linked biohybrid hydrogel networks capable of directing various therapeutically relevant cell types. To extend the variability and applicability of this novel biomaterials platform, the influence of size and molar ratio of the two building blocks on the hydrogel properties was investigated in the present study. Heparin and starPEG were converted in various molar ratios and in different molecular weights to tune swelling, stiffness and pore size of the obtained polymer networks. Hydrogels with a range of elastic moduli could be generated by controlling either the crosslinking density or the chain length of the starPEG, whereas altering the molecular mass of heparin did not significantly affect hydrogel strength. The concentration of heparin in the swollen gels was found to be nearly invariant at varying crosslinking degrees for any given set of building blocks but adjustable by the size of the building blocks. Since heparin is the base for all biofunctionalization schemes of the gels these findings lay the ground for an even more versatile customization of this powerful new class of biomaterials.
Poly(2-oxazoline)s are regarded as pseudopeptides, thus bioinspired polymers, due to their structural relationship to polypeptides. Materials and solution properties can be tuned by varying the side-chain (hydrophilic-hydrophobic, chiral, bioorganic, etc.), opening the way to advanced stimulus-responsive materials and complex colloidal structures. The bioinspired “smart” solution and aggregation behavior of poly(2-oxazoline)s in aqueous environments are discussed in this review.
Some new phenomena involved in the physical properties of comb polyelectrolyte solutions are reviewed. Special emphasis is given to synthetic biomimetic materials, and the structures formed by these molecules are compared with those of naturally occurring glycoprotein and proteoglycan solutions. Developments in the determination of the structure and dynamics (viscoelasticity) of comb polymers in solution are also covered. Specifically the appearance of multi-globular structures, helical instabilities, liquid crystalline phases, and the self-assembly of the materials to produce hierarchical comb morphologies is examined. Comb polyelectrolytes are surface active and a short review is made of some recent experiments in this area that relate to their morphology when suspended in solution. We hope to emphasize the wide variety of phenomena demonstrated by the vast range of naturally occurring comb polyelectrolytes and the challenges presented to synthetic chemists designing biomimetic materials.
The physicochemical properties of stimuli-responsive polymers change with physical or biological signals, such as pH, enzyme concentrations, and temperature. These polymers have attracted considerable attention in the field of drug delivery. The drug carrier system, which was revolutionized by the introduction of these polymers, has recently provided a new paradigm of maximizing the therapeutic activity of drugs. This review highlights recent studies regarding stimuli-responsive drug carriers tailor-made for effective cytosolic drug delivery, with particular emphasis on tumor treatment.
An ideal scaffold material is one that closely mimics the natural environment in the tissue-specific extracellular matrix (ECM). Therefore, we have applied hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a main component of the cartilage ECM, to chitosan as a fundamental material for cartilage regeneration. To mimic the structural environment of cartilage ECM, the fundamental structure of a scaffold should be a three-dimensional (3D) system with adequate mechanical strength. We structurally developed novel polymer chitosan-based HA hybrid fibers as a biomaterial to easily fabricate 3D scaffolds. This review presents the potential of a 3D fabricated scaffold based on these novel hybrid polymer fibers for cartilage tissue engineering.
Top-cited authors
Steven J Siegel
  • University of Pennsylvania
S. M. Sapuan
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia
Ilyas R.A.
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
M. R. M. Asyraf
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Mohammad Jawaid
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia