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Acta Biomater. 2011 Jan;7(1):67-74. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2010.07.008. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Tuning adhesion failure strength for tissue-specific applications.

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  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 02139, USA.


Soft tissue adhesives are employed to repair and seal many different organs, which range in both tissue surface chemistry and mechanical challenges during organ function. This complexity motivates the development of tunable adhesive materials with high resistance to uniaxial or multiaxial loads dictated by a specific organ environment. Co-polymeric hydrogels comprising aminated star polyethylene glycol and dextran aldehyde (PEG:dextran) are materials exhibiting physico-chemical properties that can be modified to achieve this organ- and tissue-specific adhesion performance. Here we report that resistance to failure under specific loading conditions, as well as tissue response at the adhesive material-tissue interface, can be modulated through regulation of the number and density of adhesive aldehyde groups. We find that atomic force microscopy (AFM) can characterize the material aldehyde density available for tissue interaction, and in this way enable rapid, informed material choice. Further, the correlation between AFM quantification of nanoscale unbinding forces with macroscale measurements of adhesion strength by uniaxial tension or multiaxial burst pressure allows the design of materials with specific cohesion and adhesion strengths. However, failure strength alone does not predict optimal in vivo reactivity. Thus, we demonstrate that the development of adhesive materials is significantly enabled when experiments are integrated along length scales to consider organ chemistry and mechanical loading states concurrently with adhesive material properties and tissue response.

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