Russian researchers from the Federal Research Clinical Center of Physical-Chemical Medicine, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and Lomonosov Moscow State University showed the possibility of blending two incompatible components -- a protein and a polymer -- in one electrospun fiber. Published in RSC Advances, the study also demonstrates that the resulting mat can gradually release the protein. Blended mats containing proteins are promising for biomedical applications as burn and wound dressings, matrices for drug delivery and release, and in tissue engineering.
EDX analysis of the fibers made of PLA (top row), BSA (middle), and the PLA-BSA blend in equal proportions (bottom). The color mapping corresponds to the chemical elements, with the carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen shown in green, yellow, and red, respectively. The presence of nitrogen indicates the protein
Credit: Elizaveta Pavlova et al./RSC Advances
Electrospun mats consisting of ultrafine fibers have numerous applications. They can be used for liquid and gas filtering, cell culturing, drug delivery, as sorbents and catalytic matrices, in protective clothing, antibacterial wound dressing, and tissue engineering.
Electrospinning is a method for fabricating micro- and nanofibers from polymers that involves the use of an electrostatic field. Under a high voltage of about 20 kilovolts, a drop of polymer solution becomes electrified and stretches out into a thin fiber once the Coulomb repulsion overcomes surface tension.
The technique is fairly flexible and enables a range of components to be incorporated into electrospun mats: micro- and nanoparticles of different nature, carbon nanotubes, fluorescent dyes, drugs and antibacterial agents, polymer and biopolymer mixtures. That way the properties of the mats can be fine-tuned to fit a specific practical application.
An electrospun mat is often manufactured with a carrier polymer, which ensures stable fiber formation and can incorporate additional components. For biomedical applications, biodegradable and biocompatible polymers are usually required, and polylactic acid is among the most common ones. PLA is used to produce degradable packaging, surgical threads, screws, and pins.
The main problem with using PLA in biology and medicine is its hydrophobic nature, and therefore poor cell adhesion. To address this, the polymer is blended with proteins, because they are nontoxic, hydrophilic, naturally metabolized, and can act as therapeutic agents.
The researchers studied blended mats consisting of the water-insoluble PLA and a water-soluble globular protein called bovine serum albumin, or BSA. Experiments in a water medium showed the protein component to be released from the mat into the solution gradually. Specifically, about half of the protein in the mat was dissolved over a week. This effect suggests possible applications in prolonged release of protein-based drugs.
To predict the properties of the blended mats, the team had to study protein distribution in them. The caveat is that most polymers do not mix well. In a polymer-protein-solvent system, the components tend to separate into two solutions. Although this does apply to PLA and BSA solutions, electrospinning allowed the researchers to overcome phase separation in mats.
They showed both components to be present in every fiber (fig. 1) with three independent analytic methods: fluorescence microscopy, EDX spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.
"Electrospun polymer-protein blended mats have many possible applications. By varying the amount of protein, you can tune how fast mat biodegradation happens. The protein's numerous functional groups enable us to modify the mat surface by attaching chemical compounds to it. Protein-based blended mats could also be used as selective filters or for prolonged drug release, for example, in burn and wound dressings," study co-author Dmitry Klinov commented.
He is a researcher at MIPT's Molecular and Translational Medicine Department and the head of the Laboratory of Medical Nanotechnologies at the Federal Research Clinical Center of Physical-Chemical Medicine of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency of Russia.
The paper reported in this story was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Grant No. 19-74-00037).
Varvara Bogomolova | EurekAlert!
Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
06.08.2020 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Tellurium makes the difference
06.08.2020 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences