Nav: Home

Rice U. lab surprised to find its drug-delivery system can help even without drugs

March 13, 2018

Sometimes when you're invested in a project you fail to notice things that turn out to be significant.

Researchers in the Rice lab of chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink had just such an experience with the hydrogels they developed as a synthetic scaffold to deliver drugs and encourage the growth of cells and blood vessels for new tissue.

To do so, they often tested the gels by infusing them before injection with bioactive small molecules, cells or proteins. What they didn't realize until recently was that the hydrogel itself has significant therapeutic qualities.

The lab reported in the Elsevier journal Biomaterials that a particular hydrogel, a self-assembling multidomain peptide (MDP) with the amino acid sequence K2(SL)6K2, is indeed bioactive.

Once Hartgerink and his team started to investigate the phenomenon, they found that even without additives their MDP is rapidly infiltrated by host cells, provokes a temporary inflammatory response, does not develop a fibrous capsule, supports the infiltration of a mature vascular network and recruits nerve fibers.

"We were surprised to find this strong effect in what we had previously considered to be a control peptide," Hartgerink said. "As it turned out, the inherent structure and chemistry of this peptide, despite being quite simple, results in a strong biological response."

The hydrogel, which can be delivered through a syringe, is designed to degrade over six weeks and leave behind healthy tissue. Because the peptides are designed from the bottom up to mimic their natural counterparts, the lab found they create an optimal environment for the body's own systems to encourage healing.

The researchers reported the natural inflammatory response when a foreign substance like a hydrogel is introduced into a system and draws cells that secrete proteins involved in cellular infiltration, scaffold degradation, vascularization and innervation. Tests on injected hydrogel showed a "statistically significant" increase in the presence of cytokines known to provoke an inflammatory response, as well as an increase in anti-inflammatory agents, both of which remained steady after day three and through two weeks.

That, Hartgerink said, indicates the hydrogel appears to harness the body's innate capacity to heal as it transitions from a pro-inflammatory to a pro-healing environment.

"As we eventually discovered, this exceptional peptide allows the body to carry out healing on its own, but with a significant boost," he said. "We believe the key step is the initial, and very rapid, cell infiltration. Once these cells are on location, they produce everything they need for an impressive regenerative response, including angiogenesis and neurogenesis."

Hartgerink said the lab is pursuing application of the peptide for wound-healing in diabetic ulcers.
-end-
Rice graduate student Amanda Moore is lead author of the study. Co-authors are Rice graduate students Tania Lopez Silva, Nicole Carrejo, Carlos Origel Marmolejo and I-Che Li. Hartgerink is a professor of chemistry and of bioengineering.

The National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology and a Stauffer-Rothrock Fellowship supported the research.

Read the abstract at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142961218300462

This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/2018/03/13/hydrogel-helps-heal-without-additives/

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

Related materials:

Slow-release hydrogel aids immunotherapy for cancer: http://news.rice.edu/2018/03/07/slow-release-hydrogel-aids-immunotherapy-for-cancer-2/

Hartgerink Research Group: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~jdh/

Lei Lab: http://media.dent.umich.edu/labs/lei/

Rice Department of Chemistry: http://chemistry.rice.edu

Rice Department of Bioengineering: http://bioe.rice.edu

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

Rice University

Related Proteins Articles:

Discovering, counting, cataloguing proteins
Scientists describe a well-defined mitochondrial proteome in baker's yeast.
Interrogating proteins
Scientists from the University of Bristol have designed a new protein structure, and are using it to understand how protein structures are stabilized.
Ancient proteins studied in detail
How did protein interactions arise and how have they developed?
What can we learn from dinosaur proteins?
Researchers recently confirmed it is possible to extract proteins from 80-million-year-old dinosaur bones.
Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have developed a new method by which proteins can be transported to a new location in a cell.
Proteins that can take the heat
Ancient proteins may offer clues on how to engineer proteins that can withstand the high temperatures required in industrial applications, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Designer proteins fold DNA
Florian Praetorius and Professor Hendrik Dietz of the Technical University of Munich have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins.
The proteins that domesticated our genomes
EPFL scientists have carried out a genomic and evolutionary study of a large and enigmatic family of human proteins, to demonstrate that it is responsible for harnessing the millions of transposable elements in the human genome.
Rare proteins collapse earlier
Some organisms are able to survive in hot springs, while others can only live at mild temperatures because their proteins aren't able to withstand such extreme heat.
How proteins reshape cell membranes
Small 'bubbles' frequently form on membranes of cells and are taken up into their interior.

Related Proteins Reading:

The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook: Hearty Dishes that Even Carnivores Will Love
by Katie Parker (Author), Kristen Smith (Author)

Proteins: Concepts in Biochemistry
by Paulo Almeida (Author)

Proteins: Structure and Function
by David Whitford (Author)

Protein Actions: Principles and Modeling
by Ivet Bahar (Author), Robert L. Jernigan (Author), Ken A. Dill (Author)

Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health-in Just Weeks!
by Michael R. Eades (Author), Mary Dan Eades (Author)

The High-Protein Cookbook: More than 150 healthy and irresistibly good low-carb dishes that can be on the table in thirty minutes or less.
by Linda West Eckhardt (Author), Katherine West Defoyd (Author)

Plant-Protein Recipes That You'll Love: Enjoy the goodness and deliciousness of 150+ healthy plant-protein recipes!
by Carina Wolff (Author)

The Ultimate Protein Powder Cookbook: Think Outside the Shake (New format and design)
by Anna Sward (Author)

The Protein Power Lifeplan
by Michael R. Eades (Author), Mary Dan Eades (Author)

Janeva's Ideal Recipes: A Personal Recipe Collection for the Ideal Protein Phase 1 Diet [Revised Version 1]
by Janeva Caroline Eickhoff (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Circular
We're told if the economy is growing, and if we keep producing, that's a good thing. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers explore circular systems that regenerate and re-use what we already have. Guests include economist Kate Raworth, environmental activist Tristram Stuart, landscape architect Kate Orff, entrepreneur David Katz, and graphic designer Jessi Arrington.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#504 The Art of Logic
How can mathematics help us have better arguments? This week we spend the hour with "The Art of Logic in an Illogical World" author, mathematician Eugenia Cheng, as she makes her case that the logic of mathematics can combine with emotional resonance to allow us to have better debates and arguments. Along the way we learn a lot about rigorous logic using arguments you're probably having every day, while also learning a lot about our own underlying beliefs and assumptions.