Biomimetic approach to designing adhesive hydrogels: from chemistry to application

Y Li and PB Lee*
November 7, 2015
Carbon Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications, Springer Series in Biomaterials Science and Engineering, M Zhang, RR Naik, and L Dai, eds., Springer International Publishing, 2016, vol. 5, p. 481-500.

Marine mussels secrete remarkable underwater adhesives that allow these organisms to anchor to surfaces in turbulent, intertidal zones. A unique amino acid, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), is found in large abundance in these adhesive proteins and DOPA is responsible for both rapid curing of the adhesive and interfacial binding. Chemically linking DOPA and other catechol derivatives onto inert, synthetic polymers has imparted these materials with strong, water-resistant adhesive properties to various biological, metallic, and polymeric substrates. In this chapter, we review the mechanisms behind the unique interfacial binding and intermolecular cross-linking chemistries of DOPA and the use of DOPA in designing adhesive hydrogels with elevated adhesive strength and tunable physical and mechanical properties. The application of these bioadhesives as sealants and adhesives in wound healing, soft tissue reconstruction, immobilization of therapeutic cells, and drug delivery is described.

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