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Novel Biomaterial Prevents Post-Surgical Adhesion

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 03 Sep 2018
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Image: Live cells (a) outside PEC barrier (b) indicate it does not create a toxic environment (Photo courtesy of Noshir Langrana/ Rutgers).
Image: Live cells (a) outside PEC barrier (b) indicate it does not create a toxic environment (Photo courtesy of Noshir Langrana/ Rutgers).
A new study shows how an innovative polyelectrolyte complex (PEC) can provide a barrier that prevents adhesions in post-operative complications.

Researchers at Rutgers University (Piscataway, NJ, USA) have developed a PEC film composed of an optimal ratio of chitosan and polygalacturonic acid (PgA) that can prevent post-surgical intra-peritoneal adhesion formation. The design is based on the fact that oppositely charged polymers, with negative functional groups--such as carboxylate and sulfate--have a demonstrated inhibitory effect on adhesions of macrophages, lymphocytes, platelets, and fibroblasts. Chitosan-PgA PEC film can thus prevent adhesions by providing a physical barrier that stops wound surfaces from joining.

The non-toxic, material complex can be used for both laparoscopic and laparotomy surgeries, since it is flexible and reasonably strong. Processing is completely aqueous based and does not require any toxic solvent, and the result is both biocompatible and biodegradable, dissolving within one to two weeks. In addition, substrate-cells electrostatic interactions with the film itself also help prevent adhesions, as the surfaces are non-permissive for viable fibroblast and macrophage attachment. The study was published in the August 2018 issue of Technology.

“Adhesions are an abnormal union of membranous surfaces. They are a painful and expensive consequence of abdominal surgeries, specifically in the peritoneal cavity,” concluded senior author Professor Noshir Langrana, PhD, and colleagues of Rutgers University. “This complication requires a second surgery to remove the problem, known as adhesiolysis, which we are trying to avoid. Current solutions to adhesion formation either lack efficacy, or induce an inflammatory response in the peritoneum.”

Adhesions are fibrous bridges that form between tissues and organs in abdominal, pericardial, and peridural spaces as a result of surgery, injury, inflammation, or infection. Adhesion can cause extreme pain discomfort, reduced mobility, difficulty breathing, and infertility. The success rates of available anti-adhesive barriers are still low, and there is a need for development of more effective biomaterials to significantly reduce adhesions.

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