Mussels don’t need ‘muscles’.
Mussels use a powerful adhesive protein to hold onto wave lashed rocks, the underside of ships and other aquatic life forms.
Bio-adhesives, tissue sealants and haemostatic agents are often used to control bleeding and encourage tissue growth following surgery. These can have side effects and often fail to work well when tissue is wet.
Now scientists have used biological information from mussels to develop a synthetic family of adhesives. Jian Yang, associate professor of bioengineering at Penn State University and researchers from University of Texas-Arlington, worked together to incorporate the chemical structure from the mussels adhesive protein within a synthetic polymer which can be injected.
The new products named iCMBAs are said to work well in the wet and to have a strong bond to tissue.
They could potentially be used for internal and external surgery to stop bleeding instantly and help wound healing without sutures.
The new bio-adhesives are said to have a high degree of controlled degradability with improved biocompatibility. These benefits plus low manufacturing costs could make them a real alternative to fibrin glue and cyanoacrylate adhesives. The researchers reported their findings in a recent issue of Biomaterials.
In a separate study of mussels adhesive, a sticky polydopamine coating has been developed which could help remineralise and restore dentine and enamel of sensitive teeth. During the research demineralised surfaces were bathed in minerals. Uncoated surfaces rebuilt enamel, but when natural mussel adhesive was applied both dentine and enamel were rebuilt. The conclusion is that a polydopamine adhesive could become a simple method for restoring demineralised, sensitive teeth.
ITS Dermasafe is a range of ‘skin safe’ adhesives and coatings developed by ITAC.