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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Aug 27;6(16):14477-85. doi: 10.1021/am503778t. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Novel functionalization of discrete polymeric biomaterial microstructures for applications in imaging and three-dimensional manipulation.

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Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco , 1700 Fourth Street, Byers Hall Room 203, San Francisco, California 94158, United States.


Adapting ways to functionalize polymer materials is becoming increasingly important to their implementation in translational biomedical sciences. By tuning the mechanical, chemical, and biological qualities of these materials, their applications can be broadened, opening the door for more advanced integration into modern medical techniques. Here, we report on a method to integrate chemical functionalizations into discrete, microscale polymer structures, which are used for tissue engineering applications, for in vivo localization, and three-dimensional manipulation. Iron oxide nanoparticles were incorporated into the polymer matrix using common photolithographic techniques to create stably functional microstructures with magnetic potential. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we can promote visualization of microstructures contained in small collections, as well as facilitate the manipulation and alignment of microtopographical cues in a realistic tissue environment. Using similar polymer functionalization techniques, fluorine-containing compounds were also embedded in the polymer matrix of photolithographically fabricated microstructures. The incorporation of fluorine-containing compounds enabled highly sensitive and specific detection of microstructures in physiologic settings using fluorine MRI techniques ((19)F MRI). These functionalization strategies will facilitate more reliable noninvasive tracking and characterization of microstructured polymer implants as well as have implications for remote microstructural scaffolding alignment for three-dimensional tissue engineering applications.

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