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Duarte AR, Maniglio D, Sousa N, Mano JF, Reis RL, Migliaresi C. {From honeycomb- to microsphere-patterned surfaces of poly(lactic acid) and a starch-poly(lactic acid) blend via the breath figure method.}. Journal of applied biomaterials {&} functional materials. 2016;15. Abstractpdf

BACKGROUND This study investigated the preparation of ordered patterned surfaces and/or microspheres from a natural-based polymer, using the breath figure and reverse breath figure methods. METHODS Poly(D,L-lactic acid) and starch poly(lactic acid) solutions were precipitated in different conditions - namely, polymer concentration, vapor atmosphere temperature and substrate - to evaluate the effect of these conditions on the morphology of the precipitates obtained. RESULTS The possibility of fine-tuning the properties of the final patterns simply by changing the vapor atmosphere was also demonstrated here using a range of compositions of the vapor phase. Porous films or discrete particles are formed when the differences in surface tension determine the ability of polymer solution to surround water droplets or methanol to surround polymer droplets, respectively. In vitro cytotoxicity was assessed applying a simple standard protocol to evaluate the possibility to use these materials in biomedical applications. Moreover, fluorescent microscopy images showed a good interaction of cells with the material, which were able to adhere on the patterned surfaces after 24 hours in culture. CONCLUSIONS The development of patterned surfaces using the breath figure method was tested in this work for the preparation of both poly(lactic acid) and a blend containing starch and poly(lactic acid). The potential of these films to be used in the biomedical area was confirmed by a preliminary cytotoxicity test and by morphological observation of cell adhesion.

Barros A, Quraishi S, Martins M, Gurikov P, Subrahmanyam R, Smirnova I, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Hybrid Alginate-Based Cryogels for Life Science Applications}. Chemie-Ingenieur-Technik. 2016;88. Abstract

© 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH {&} Co. KGaA, Weinheim. This work presents a novel route toward porous scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) applications. Hybrid cryogels with gelatin, gellan gum, carboxymethylcellulose, and lignin were prepared by a two-step process. Textural properties of the cryogels were analyzed by SEM and micro-computed tomography. The results indicated that rapid freezing retained sample shape and yielded macroporous materials. The mechanical properties of the cryogels were characterized in compression mode. Cytotoxicity studies indicated that the hybrid-alginate cryogels did not present cytotoxicity and have the potential to be used in TERM.

Barros AA, Aroso IM, Silva TH, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {In vitro bioactivity studies of ceramic structures isolated from marine sponges}. Biomedical Materials (Bristol). 2016;11. Abstract

© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. In this work, we focused on the potential of bioceramics from different marine sponges - namely Petrosia ficiformis, Agelas oroides and Chondrosia reniformis - for novel biomedical/industrial applications. The bioceramics from these sponges were obtained after calcination at 750 °C for 6 h in a furnace. The morphological characteristics were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The in vitro bioactivity of the bioceramics was evaluated in simulated body fluid (SBF) after 14 and 21 d. Observation of the bioceramics by SEM after immersion in SBF solution, coupled with spectroscopic elemental analysis (EDS), showed that the surface morphology was consistent with a calcium-phosphate (Ca/P) coating, similar to hydroxyapatite crystals (HA). Evaluation of the characteristic peaks of Ca/P crystals by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction further confirmed the existence of HA. Cytotoxicity studies were carried out with the different ceramics and these were compared with a commercially available Bioglass ® . In vitro tests demonstrated that marine bioceramics from these sponges are non-cytotoxic and have the potential to be used as substitutes for synthetic Bioglass ® .

Barros AA, Rita AN, Duarte AR, Pires RA, Sampaio-Marques B, Ludovico P, Lima E, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Bioresorbable ureteral stents from natural origin polymers}. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials. 2015;103:608-17. Abstract

In this work, stents were produced from natural origin polysaccharides. Alginate, gellan gum, and a blend of these with gelatin were used to produce hollow tube (stents) following a combination of templated gelation and critical point carbon dioxide drying. Morphological analysis of the surface of the stents was carried out by scanning electron microscopy. Indwelling time, encrustation, and stability of the stents in artificial urine solution was carried out up to 60 days of immersion. In vitro studies carried out with simulated urine demonstrated that the tubes present a high fluid uptake ability, about 1000{%}. Despite this, the materials are able to maintain their shape and do not present an extensive swelling behavior. The bioresorption profile was observed to be highly dependent on the composition of the stent and it can be tuned. Complete dissolution of the materials may occur between 14 and 60 days. Additionally, no encrustation was observed within the tested timeframe. The ability to resist bacterial adherence was evaluated with Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and two Gram-negatives Escherichia coli DH5 alpha and Klebsiella oxytoca. For K. oxytoca, no differences were observed in comparison with a commercial stent (Biosoft((R)) duo, Porges), although, for S. aureus all tested compositions had a higher inhibition of bacterial adhesion compared to the commercial stents. In case of E. coli, the addition of gelatin to the formulations reduced the bacterial adhesion in a highly significant manner compared to the commercial stents. The stents produced by the developed technology fulfill the requirements for ureteral stents and will contribute in the development of biocompatible and bioresorbable urinary stents.

Aroso IM, Duarte AR, Pires RR, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Cork processing with supercritical carbon dioxide: Impregnation and sorption studies}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2015;104:251-8. Abstractpdf

Abstract The present study relates to the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater}) to modify the properties of cork by incorporation of new molecules. The impact of SCCO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater}processing on the morphology and on the mechanical properties was found to be negligible.The impregnation of disperse blue 14 (blue dye) on cubic shaped cork samples of 5 mm occurs progressively,is dependent of the processing conditions and of the presence of lenticels and growth rings. The impregnation of the samples bulk was achieved with processing at 10 MPa and 313 K for 16 h. The solubility and sorption of SCCO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater} in the cork matrix was measured using circular discs and the diffusion coefficients calculated to be on the order of 10{\textless}sup{\textgreater}-8{\textless}/sup{\textgreater} cm{\textless}sup{\textgreater}2{\textless}/sup{\textgreater}/s, the same order as for wood materials. This work demonstrates the feasibility of supercritical fluid technology to impart new features to cork, which may lead to innovative architectural, outdoor and industrial applications.

Aroso IM, Craveiro R, Rocha Â, Dionísio M, Barreiros S, Reis RL, Paiva A, Duarte AR. {Design of controlled release systems for THEDES - Therapeutic deep eutectic solvents, using supercritical fluid technology}. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2015;492. Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Abstract Deep eutectic solvents (DES) can be formed by bioactive compounds or pharmaceutical ingredients. A therapeutic DES (THEDES) based on ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and menthol was synthesized and its thermal behavior was analyzed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A controlled drug delivery system was developed by impregnating a starch:poly-Ï$μ$-caprolactone polymeric blend (SPCL 30:70) with the menthol:ibuprofen THEDES in different ratios (10 and 20 wt{%}), after supercritical fluid sintering at 20 MPa and 50 °C. The morphological characterization of SPCL matrices impregnated with THEDES was performed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). Drug release studies were carried out in a phosphate buffered saline. The results obtained provide important clues for the development of carriers for the sustainable delivery of bioactive compounds.

Barros AA, Oliveira C, Reis RL, Lima E, Duarte AR. {Ketoprofen-eluting biodegradable ureteral stents by CO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater}impregnation: In vitro study}. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2015;495. Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Ureteral stents are indispensable tools in urologic practice. The main complications associated with ureteral stents are dislocation, infection, pain and encrustation. Biodegradable ureteral stents are one of the most attractive designs with the potential to eliminate several complications associated with the stenting procedure. In this work we hypothesize the impregnation of ketoprofen, by CO 2 -impregnation in a patented biodegradable ureteral stent previously developed in our group. The biodegradable ureteral stents with each formulation: alginate-based, gellan gum-based were impregnated with ketoprofen and the impregnation conditions tested were 100 bar, 2 h and three different temperatures (35 °C, 40°C and 50°C). The impregnation was confirmed by FTIR and DSC demonstrated the amorphization of the drug upon impregnation. The in vitro elution profile in artificial urine solution (AUS) during degradation of a biodegradable ureteral stent loaded with ketoprofen was evaluated. According to the kinetics results these systems have shown to be very promising for the release ketoprofen in the first 72 h, which is the necessary time for anti-inflammatory delivery after the surgical procedure. The in vitro release studied revealed an influence of the temperature on the impregnation yield, with a higher impregnation yield at 40°C. Higher yields were also obtained for gellan gum-based stents. The non-cytotoxicity characteristic of the developed ketoprofen-eluting biodegradable ureteral stents was evaluated in L929 cell line by MTS assay which demonstrated the feasibility of this product as a medical device.

Quraishi S, Martins M, Barros AA, Gurikov P, Raman SP, Smirnova I, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Novel non-cytotoxic alginate–lignin hybrid aerogels as scaffolds for tissue engineering}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2015;105:1-8. Abstractpdf

This paper presents a novel approach toward the production of hybrid alginate–lignin aerogels. The key idea of the approach is to employ pressurized carbon dioxide for gelation. Exposure of alginate and lignin aqueous alkali solution containing calcium carbonate to CO2at 4.5 MPa resulted in a hydrogel formation. Various lignin and CaCO3concentrations were studied. Stable hydrogels could be formed up to 2:1 (w/w) alginate-to-lignin ratio (1.5 wt{%} overall biopolymer concentration). Upon substitution of water with ethanol, gels were dried in supercritical CO2to produce aerogels. Aerogels with bulk density in the range 0.03–0.07 g/cm3, surface area up to 564 m2/g and pore volume up to 7.2 cm3/g were obtained. To introduce macroporosity, the CO2induced gelation was supplemented with rapid depressurization (foaming process). Macroporosity up to 31.3 ± 1.9{%} with interconnectivity up to 33.2 ± 8.3{%} could be achieved at depressurization rate of 3 MPa/min as assessed by micro-CT. Young's modulus of alginate–lignin aerogels was measured in both dry and wet states. Cell studies revealed that alginate–lignin aerogels are non-cytotoxic and feature good cell adhesion making them attractive candidates for a wide range of applications including tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Martins M, Barros AA, Quraishi S, Gurikov P, Raman SP, Smirnova I, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Preparation of macroporous alginate-based aerogels for biomedical applications}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2015. Abstractpdf

Aerogels are a special class of ultra-light porous materials with growing interest in biomedical applications due to their open pore structure and high surface area. However, they usually lack macroporosity, while mesoporosity is typically high. In this work, carbon dioxide induced gelation followed by expansion of the dissolved CO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater} was performed to produce hybrid calcium-crosslinked alginate-starch hydrogels with dual meso- and macroporosity. The hydrogels were subjected to solvent exchange and supercritical drying to obtain aerogels. Significant increase in macroporosity from 2 to 25{%} was achieved by increasing expansion rate from 0.1 to 30 bar/min with retaining mesoporosity (BET surface and BJH pore volume in the range 183-544m{\textless}sup{\textgreater}2{\textless}/sup{\textgreater}/g and 2.0-6.8cm{\textless}sup{\textgreater}3{\textless}/sup{\textgreater}/g, respectively). In vitro bioactivity studies showed that the alginate-starch aerogels are bioactive, i.e. they form hydroxyapatite crystals when immersed in a simulated body fluid solution. Bioactivity is attributed to the presence of calcium in the matrix. The assessment of the biological performance showed that the aerogels do not present a cytotoxic effect and the cells are able to colonize and grow on their surface. Results presented in this work provide a good indication of the potential of the alginate-starch aerogels in biomedical applications, particularly for bone regeneration.

Barros AA, Aroso IM, Silva TH, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Water and carbon dioxide: Green solvents for the extraction of collagen/gelatin from marine sponges}. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 2015;3:254-60. Abstract

Marine sponges are extremely rich in natural products and are considered a promising biological resource. The major objective of this work is to couple a green extraction process with a natural origin raw material to obtain sponge origin collagen/gelatin for biomedical applications. Marine sponge collagen has unique physicochemical properties, but its application is hindered by the lack of availability due to inefficient extraction methodologies. Traditional extraction methods are time consuming as they involve several operating steps and large amounts of solvents. In this work, we propose a new extraction methodology under mild operating conditions in which water is acidified with carbon dioxide (CO2) to promote the extraction of collagen/gelatin from different marine sponge species. An extraction yield of approximately 50{%} of collagen/gelatin was achieved. The results of Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), circular dichroism (CD), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) spectra suggest a mixture of collagen/gelatin with high purity, and the analysis of the amino acid composition has shown similarities with collagen from other marine sources. Additionally, in vitro cytotoxicity studies did not demonstrate any toxicity effects for three of the extracts.

2014 2014;2:2014. Abstract
Martins M, Aroso IM, Reis RL, Duarte AR, Craveiro R, Paiva A. {Enhanced performance of supercritical fluid foaming of natural-based polymers by deep eutectic solvents}. AIChE Journal. 2014;60. Abstract

© 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Significance: Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) are defined as a mixture of two or more solid or liquid components, which at a particular composition present a high melting point depression becoming liquids at room temperature. NADES are constituted by natural molecules and fully represent the green chemistry principles. For these reasons, the authors believe that the submitted manuscript is a highly valuable contribution to the field of green chemistry and chemical engineering. For the first time, the possibility to use NADES as enhancers of supercritical fluid technology is revealed.

Silva JM, Duarte AR, Custódio CA, Sher P, Neto AI, Pinho AC, Fonseca J, Reis RL, Mano JF. {Nanostructured Hollow Tubes Based on Chitosan and Alginate Multilayers}. Advanced Healthcare Materials. 2014;3:433-40. Abstract

The design and production of structures with nanometer-sized polymer films based on layer-by-layer (LbL) are of particular interest for tissue engineering since they allow the precise control of physical and biochemical cues of implantable devices. In this work, a method is developed for the preparation of nanostructured hollow multilayers tubes combining LbL and template leaching. The aim is to produce hollow tubes based on polyelectrolyte multilayer films with tuned physical-chemical properties and study their effects on cell behavior. The final tubular structures are characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), microscopy, swelling, and mechanical tests, including dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) in physiological simulated conditions. It is found that more robust films could be produced upon chemical cross-linking with genipin. In particular, the mechanical properties confirms the viscoelastic properties and a storage and young modulus about two times higher. The water uptake decreases from about 390{%} to 110{%} after the cross-linking. The biological performance is assessed in terms of cell adhesion, viability, and proliferation. The results obtained with the cross-linked tubes demonstrate that these are more suitable structures for cell adhesion and spreading. The results suggest the potential of these structures to boost the development of innovative tubular structures for tissue engineering approaches.

Paiva A, Craveiro R, Aroso I, Martins M, Reis RL, Duarte AR. {Natural deep eutectic solvents - Solvents for the 21st century}. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 2014;2. Abstract

Green technology actively seeks new solvents to replace common organic solvents that present inherent toxicity and have high volatility, leading to evaporation of volatile organic compounds to the atmosphere. Over the past two decades, ionic liquids (ILs) have gained enormous attention from the scientific community, and the number of reported articles in the literature has grown exponentially. Nevertheless, IL "greenness" is often challenged, mainly due to their poor biodegradability, biocompatibility, and sustainability. An alternative to ILs are deep eutectic solvents (DES). Deep eutectic solvents are defined as a mixture of two or more components, which may be solid or liquid and that at a particular composition present a high melting point depression becoming liquids at room temperature. When the compounds that constitute the DES are primary metabolites, namely, aminoacids, organic acids, sugars, or choline derivatives, the DES are so called natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES). NADES fully represent green chemistry principles. Can natural deep eutectic solvents be foreseen as the next generation solvents and can a similar path to ionic liquids be outlined? The current state of the art concerning the advances made on these solvents in the past few years is reviewed in this paper, which is more than an overview on the different applications for which they have been suggested, particularly, biocatalysis, electrochemistry, and extraction of new data. Citotoxicity of different NADES was evaluated and compared to conventional imidazolium-based ionic liquids, and hints at the extraction of phenolic compounds from green coffee beans and on the foaming effect of NADES are revealed. Future perspectives on the major directions toward which the research on NADES is envisaged are here discussed, and these comprised undoubtedly a wide range of chemically related subjects. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Babo P, Santo V{, Duarte AR, Correia C{, Costa MH, Mano J{, Reis RL, Gomes ME. {Platelet lysate membranes as new autologous templates for tissue engineering applications}. Inflammation and Regeneration. 2014;34:033-44. Abstractpdf
Craveiro R, Martins M, Santos GB, Correia N, Dionísio M, Barreiros S, Duarte AR, Reis RL, Paiva A. {Starch-based polymer-IL composites formed by compression moulding and supercritical fluid foaming for self-supported conductive materials}. RSC Advances. 2014;4. Abstract

In this work, blends of starch and poly-$ε$-caprolactone (PCL) doped with different concentrations of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([BMIM]Ac) or 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([BMIM] Cl) were studied. The blends were characterized by mechanical analysis, infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS), evaluating the IL doping effect. The samples were subjected to supercritical carbon dioxide foaming and the morphology of the structures was assessed. DSC shows a single glass transition and melting endotherm for foamed and unfoamed samples, having no effect upon IL doping, and DRS shows increased molecular mobility for blends with higher IL concentrations, and some hindrance for lower ones. The conductivity for SPCL doped with 30{%} [BMIM] Cl, before and after foaming, is comparable to the conductivity of the IL but exhibits more stable conductivity values, opening doors for applications as self-supported conductive materials. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Martins M, Craveiro R, Paiva A, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Supercritical fluid processing of natural based polymers doped with ionic liquids}. Chemical Engineering Journal. 2014;241. Abstract

Some approaches have been developed in our group to investigate the role of novel ionic liquids as process and property modifiers of natural-based polymers. In our previous work, we proposed the use of ionic liquids as plasticizing agents for the creation of porous structures from a semi-crystalline natural-based polymer. The current work intended to complement the previous studies, evaluating the ability of ionic liquid (IL) to plasticize polymers such as blends of starch-poly-lactic acid (SPLA) and its effect on supercritical fluid foaming process (SCF) and providing more insights on the mechanisms involved. For this purpose, blends of starch with poly (lactic) acid, with different ratios of starch and poly-lactic acid of 50:50 and 30:70 were modified and processed using 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([bmim]Cl). Supercritical fluid foaming was studied at different soaking times (1, 3 and 6h) using carbon dioxide at 20.0MPa and 40°C. The blends were characterized by different techniques, such as infra-red spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and compression and tensile mechanical analysis. The morphology of the foamed structures was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography. The results suggest that after 3h of soaking time an equilibrium state of carbon dioxide into the bulk samples is attained, yielding structures with 6{%} and 15{%} of porosity, for SPLA70 and SPLA50 respectively. The solubility of carbon dioxide within the matrices was studied for the same conditions and the results demonstrate a higher sorption degree in the samples doped with ionic liquid. Sorption and desorption diffusion coefficients of supercritical CO 2 in the SPLA matrix were determined for the raw polymer and for the SPLA doped with [bmim]Cl. It was found that the lower desorption diffusion coefficients are related with the higher porosity obtained by the foaming process. © 2013.

Barros AA, Aroso IM, Silva TH, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Surface modification of silica-based marine sponge bioceramics induce hydroxyapatite formation}. Crystal Growth and Design. 2014;14:4545-52. Abstract

Marine biomaterials are a new emerging area of research with significant applications. Recently, researchers are dedicating considerable attention to marine-sponge biomaterials for various applications. We have focused on the potential of biosilica from Petrosia ficidormis for novel biomedical/industrial applications. A bioceramic structure from this sponge was obtained after calcination at 750 °C for 6 h in a furnace. The morphological characteristics of the three-dimensional architecture were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and microcomputed tomography, revealing a highly porous and interconnected structure. The skeleton of P. ficidormis is a siliceous matrix composed of SiO2, which does not present inherent bioactivity. Induction of bioactivity was attained by subjecting the bioceramics structure to an alkaline treatment (2M KOH) and acidic treatment (2M HCl) for 1 and 3 h. In vitro bioactivity of the bioceramics structure was evaluated in simulated body fluid (SBF), after 7 and 14 days. Observation of the structures by SEM, coupled with spectroscopic elemental analysis (EDS), has shown that the surface morphology presented a calcium-phosphate CaP coating, similar to hydroxyapatite (HA). The determination of the Ca/P ratio, together with the evaluation of the characteristic peaks of HA by infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, have proven the existence of HA. In vitro biological performance of the structures was evaluated using an osteoblast cell line, and the acidic treatment has shown to be the most effective treatment. Cells were seeded on bioceramics structures and their morphology; viability and growth were evaluated by SEM, MTS assay, and DNA quantification, respectively, demonstrating that cells are able to grow and colonize the bioceramic structures. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Silva JM, Duarte AR, Caridade SG, Picart C, Reis RL, Mano JF. {Tailored freestanding multilayered membranes based on chitosan and alginate}. Biomacromolecules. 2014;15. Abstract

© 2014 American Chemical Society. Engineering metabolically demanding tissues requires the supply of nutrients, oxygen, and removal of metabolic byproducts, as well as adequate mechanical properties. In this work, we propose the development of chitosan (CHIT)/alginate (ALG) freestanding membranes fabricated by layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly. CHIT/ALG membranes were cross-linked with genipin at a concentration of 1 mg·mL {\textless} sup {\textgreater} -1 {\textless} /sup {\textgreater} or 5 mg·mL {\textless} sup {\textgreater} -1 {\textless} /sup {\textgreater} . Mass transport properties of glucose and oxygen were evaluated on the freestanding membranes. The diffusion of glucose and oxygen decreases with increasing cross-linking concentration. Mechanical properties were also evaluated in physiological-simulated conditions. Increasing cross-linking density leads to an increase of storage modulus, Young modulus, and ultimate tensile strength, but to a decrease in the maximum hydrostatic pressure. The in vitro biological performance demonstrates that cross-linked films are more favorable for cell adhesion. This work demonstrates the versatility and feasibility of LbL assembly to generate nanostructured constructs with tunable permeability, mechanical, and biological properties.

Silva SS, Duarte AR, Oliveira JM, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Alternative methodology for chitin-hydroxyapatite composites using ionic liquids and supercritical fluid technology}. Journal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers. 2013;28. Abstract

An alternative, green method was used to develop chitin-based biocomposite (ChHA) materials by an integrated strategy using ionic liquids, supercritical fluid drying, and salt leaching. ChHA matrices were produced by dissolving chitin in 1-butyl-methylimidazolium acetate along with salt and/or hydroxyapatite particles and then subsequent drying. The ChHA composite formed had a heterogeneous porous microstructure with 65{%}-85{%} porosity and pore sizes in the range of 100-300 $μ$m. The hydroxyapatite was found to be well distributed within the composite structures and had a positive effect in the viability and proliferation of osteoblast-like cells, in vitro. Our findings indicate that these ChHA matrices have potential applications in bone tissue engineering. © The Author(s) 2013.

Silva SS, Duarte AR, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Design and functionalization of chitin-based microsphere scaffolds}. Green Chemistry. 2013;15:3252. Abstractpdf

Chitin agglomerated scaffolds were produced and functionalized using the green chemistry principles and clean technologies. Such combination enabled the functionalization of chitin microparticles prepared through dissolution of the polymer in ionic liquids, followed by of the application of a sol-gel method. Finally, the 3D constructs were moulded and dried using a supercritical assisted agglomeration method. Structural and morphological characterization is presented using scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) and micro-computed tomography ([small micro]-CT). An evaluation of the bioactive behavior of the matrices was made by immersing them in simulated body fluid (SBF) for up to 21 days. The potential of such matrices as drug delivery systems was evaluated after the incorporation of dexamethasone into the matrices during drying in supercritical assisted agglomeration. The findings suggested that the morphological features such as porosity, interconnectivity and pore size distribution of the matrices can be tunned by changing particle size, chitin concentration and the pressure applied during moulding. Chitin microspheres were modified by siloxane and silanol groups, providing a bioactive behavior; the apatite formation was shown to be dependent on the amount and arrangement of silanol groups. Furthermore, in vitro drug release studies showed that dexamethasone was sustainably released. All findings suggest that this strategy is a feasible and advantageous process to obtain chitin-based 3D structures with both functional and structural characteristics that make then suitable for regenerative medicine applications.

Fernandes-Silva S, Moreira-Silva J, Silva TH, Perez-Martin RI, Sotelo CG, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Porous hydrogels from shark skin collagen crosslinked under dense carbon dioxide atmosphere}. Macromolecular Bioscience. 2013;13. Abstract

The possibility to fabricate marine collagen porous structures crosslinked with genipin under high pressure carbon dioxide is investigated. Collagen from shark skin is used to prepare pre-scaffolds by freeze-drying. The poor stability of the structures and low mechanical properties require crosslinking of the structures. Under dense CO 2 atmosphere, crosslinking of collagen pre-scaffolds is allowed for 16 h. Additionally, the hydrogels are foamed and the scaffolds obtained present a highly porous structure. In vitro cell culture tests performed with a chondrocyte-like cell line show good cell adherence and proliferation, which is a strong indication of the potential of these scaffolds to be used in tissue cartilage tissue engineering. The development of an optimized processing technique for the preparation of stable structures from marine origin collagen is described. The samples are processed under a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere that promotes crosslinking and enhances the morphology of the 3D architectures obtained. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH {&} Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Engineering T, Based C, Gualtar CD, Manuela M, Gomes E, Rita AN, Duarte C, Fornecer SD, Estrutura UM, Interconectada PE, Crescimento SD. {PT 106220}.. 2013;106220. Abstract
Engineering T, Based C, Gualtar CD, Manuela M, Gomes E, Rita AN, Duarte C, Fornecer SD, Estrutura UM, Interconectada PE, Crescimento SD. {PT 106220}.. 2013;106220. Abstract