Editors' ChoiceWound Healing

A New Biological Nano-Superglue

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Science Translational Medicine  25 Jun 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 242, pp. 242ec112
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009601

For centuries, the mainstay of surgical wound closure has been the basic needle and thread. Tissue adhesives are now also available, but require complex polymerization or cross-linking reactions and do not work well in wet conditions or in confined spaces. Meddahi-Pellé and colleagues now report a new kind of tissue adhesive that uses nano-bridging to close wounds and adhere materials to biological tissues. A solution of aqueous nanoparticles is applied to a wound edge or gel surface; the edges of the wound are then lightly brought into contact, and a lasting bond is created by events at the nano-scale. It works because silica or iron oxide nanoparticles first quickly adsorb to macromolecules at the tissue surfaces. With wound closure, the nanoparticles in solution then act as connectors by reorganizing and dissipating energy to create adhesion under constraint. The method is quick and easily used without requiring a chemical reaction.

The authors tested the nano-glue on skin wounds and injured liver in rats and in bioengineering applications. The nanoparticle solution resulted in quick skin wound closure, minimal inflammatory reactions, and a favorable cosmetic outcome with little scarring. For liver resection surgery—during which it is notoriously difficult to control the bleeding—they first applied silica nanoparticles to a polymer membrane, creating a patch that was then applied to cover the cut edges of liver. Bleeding quickly stopped, and the patch remained intact 3 days later. Last, the authors use their nano-glue to apply a biodegradable three-dimensional polysaccharide scaffold directly to the surface of a beating rat heart. Again, the scaffold was firmly bonded. Adhesives that use nano-bridging may hold promise as a next generation of tissue adhesive for use in surgery and regenerative medicine.

A. Meddahi-Pellé et al., Organ repair, hemostasis, and in vivo bonding of medical devices by aqueous solutions of nanoparticles. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 6369–6373 (2014). [Full Text]

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