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Issue 03/2022

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Highlights: Injection Moulding Beauty & Healthcare Basics: Biocompatibility of PHA Starch

Basics The

Basics The biocompatibility of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) is a family of microbial linear polyesters, biosynthesized using multiple species of bacteria including Cupriavidus, Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, Halomonas, Bacillus and Aeromonas et al [1]*. Since the first PHA- poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) was discovered more than 100 years ago, more than 150 monomers have been found to form a variety of PHAs [2]. In combination with their biodegradability, biocompatibility, and adjustable physicochemical properties, PHA has been explored for bulk and high-value consumables applications in packaging, agricultural, textiles, and medical industries [1]. One of the major areas of PHA applications is biomedical materials and devices. Significant biocompatibility of a material for biomedical applications is a prerequisite for transplantation in humans or animals [3]. However, before materials such as PHA can be incorporated into new and existing biomedical devices, the toxicity and biocompatibility of PHA need to be thoroughly investigated. For this purpose, biocompatibility will be defined as ‘‘the ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host response in a specific situation’’ [4]. In other words, the biocompatibility of PHA means that it does not have any adverse effect on cells or a living organism. In fact, many studies have been presented with a summary of the excellent biocompatibility of various available PHA materials in vitro and in vivo [5, 6, 7] (Figure 1). Clinical trials Cells in vitro Polyhydroxyalkanoates PHA Fully biosynthetic Biocompatible material Figure 1. The biocompatibility of PHA has been well studied in vitro and in vivo in vivo validation Biological medical implants Animal model As the first discovered PHA, the good biocompatibility of PHB has been confirmed by some studies in multiple application fields [8, 9]. In one study, Castellano et al. showed that PHB-based fibres allowed maximum cell adhesion and growth of mesenchymal stem cells, cardiomyocytes, and cardiac fibroblasts [10]. Subsequently, the secondgeneration of commercialized PHA, poly(3-hydroxybutyrateco-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) similar to PHB with good biocompatibility was found with a similar biocompatibility performance. Its biocompatibility, biodegradability, environmental sustainability, processing versatility, and mechanical properties make them unique scaffold polymer candidates for supporting the cell viability and proliferation of human osteoblast-like cells (MG-63), murine fibroblast cells (NIH-3T3), Mouse calvaria derived preosteoclasts cell line (MC3T3-E1), and primary hepatocyte [11, 12, 13, 14]. Poly(3- hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (PHBHHx) was also reported to be a promising biodegradable polyester with better biodegradability and mechanical properties compared with other well-established PHA family members, PHB and PHBV, which makes it more suitable as a scaffold matrix in tissue engineering and drug delivery [15]. PHBHHx has excellent biocompatibility with a variety of cell types, including bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, osteoblasts, articular cartilage-derived chondrocytes, fibroblasts, neural stem cells and so on [16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. The Copolymer of 3-hydroxybutyrate and 4-hydroxybutyrate (P34HB) overcomes brittleness and narrow processing window of PHB to show an elongation to break from 45 % to 100 % [23]. The favourable surface physicochemical properties, including hydrophilicity, polarity, and surface free energy, that are determined by its high crystallization behaviour, have attracted great interest in using P34HB as degradable implant materials or as a carrier for the long-acting and controlled release of active biomolecules [24, 25]. Furthermore, P34HB demonstrates excellent biocompatibility in cytotoxicity and hemolysis tests as drug coatings and showed better drug release control than commercial drug-eluting stents, indicating that P34HB is more suitable for a latent coating polymer of coronary stents [26]. The U.S. company Tepha (Lexington, MA) successfully developed poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB) for suture application [27]. As the first PHA-based medical device approved by The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), P4HB came to the market in 2007 [28]. This biomaterial has shown excellent biocompatibility passing a series of tests including cytotoxicity, irritation and sensitization, systemic toxicity, genotoxicity, subchronic and chronic implantation, and hemolysis [28]. Since then, P4HB have been used in a wide variety of medical fields such as hernia repair, tendon and ligament repair, bone and cartilage regeneration, cardiovascular tissue repair, and nerve tissue repair [28, 29, 30]. For example, as demonstrated by a biodegradable and biocompatible heart valve scaffold fabricated from a porous P4HB, the tissue-engineered cardiovascular constructs can be used for implantation with an appropriate function for 120 days in lambs [31]. A summary of the compatibility of four commercially available PHA is presented in Table 1. 48 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/22] Vol. 17

Basics Scaffold Type of study Cells Results Reference PHB PHB PHBV PHBV/PLGA PHBV/PLGA/ hepatocyte growth factor PHBHHx In vitro Human osteoblast-like cells (MG-63) No harmful effect on cells [32]* Good biocompatibility, significantly inducing In vitro Mesenchymal stem cells, cardiomyocytes, angiogenesis and modifying M2 [10] and cardiac fibroblasts polarization of macrophages in myocardial tissue 1,74 0,00 Human osteoblastlike In vitro cells (MG-63) and High biocompatibility murine fibroblast cells [12] (NIH-3T3) 0,00262 0,00262 In vitro Good biocompatibility Mouse-calvariaderived preosteoclasts and promoting differentiation into cell line (MC3T3-E1) osteogenic phenotype [11, 13] In vitro Primary hepatocyte Good biocompatibility [14] In vitro Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells Enhanced osteogenic differentiation PHBHHx In vivo Osteoblasts Good biocompatibility [17] PHB/PHBHHx PHBHHx In vivo In vitro Human adiposederived stem cells Human marrow mesenchymal stem cells Excellent biocompatibility and prompting chondrogenic differentiation Significantly promoting cell proliferation PHBHHx In vitro Fibroblasts Good biocompatibility [16, 19] PHBHHx In vitro /In vivo Neural stem cells Promoting NSC growth and [14, 33] differentiation PHBHHx In vivo / Satisfactory tarsal repair [34] PHBHHx/PHB In vitro Rabbit articular cartilage Good biocompatibility [35] PHBHHx In vivo / Rapid functional recovery for the disrupted nerves [36] PHBHHx/NVP- BEZ235 P34HB P34HB/lecithin P34HB/ graphene oxide In vitro & In vivo In vitro /In vivo In vitro & In vivo In vitro & In vivo Prostate cancer cell line PC3 Mouse adiposederived stem cells Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells Excellent antitumor efficacies Good biocompatibility, excellent biosafety and ability for bone regeneration and repair Promoting osteogenesis and regeneration of bone defects Fast osteogenic capability [18] [22] [20] [37] [24, 25] P34HB In vitro Mouse fibroblast L929 Good biocompatibility [40] P34HB/BMP7 In vitro Human adipose mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs) Higher alkaline phosphatase activity and higher expression levels of genetic markers of osteogenic differentiation [38] [39] [41] mesenchymal stromal cell (hMSCs) attachment and viability [43]. Moreover, poly(3-hydroxyoctanoate) (P3HO), another representative MCL PHA, blending or grafting with other polymers, had good biocompatibility with Chinese hamster ovary cells, human microvascular endothelial cells, MC3T3-E1, hMSCs, primary Schwann cell et al [44, 45, 46]. Inspiringly, MCL PHA for a number of biomedical applications had been consolidated and thus promising improved biocompatibility [47]. Biosynthetic polymers as medical implants or devices should come with the ability to disintegrate themselves into non-hazardous products to prevent inflammatory responses in vivo, which is another important aspect of medical applications. Hence, information regarding the biodegradable products of PHAs is momentous for its exploitation as a medical biomaterial. The cell growth promotion effects can be attributed to biological effects of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), the most active monomer of PHA with nontoxic, and nonimmunogenic responses [37, 48, 49]. It was found that 3HB promoted the maintenance of NSC stemness by accelerating their cell cycle via the MAPK-Erk pathway and promoting the expression of the NSC marker Sox2 [33]. Therefore, the intrinsic biocompatible properties of PHA make them promising biomaterials in tissue regeneration applications. From the above studies, all available PHAs have been found biocompatible and biodegradable both in vitro and in vivo, they can support cell and tissue growth with very limited immunological responses. Therefore, all studies conducted so far revealed that PHAs are strong candidates for uses in different medical implant applications. References: *: The comlete, comprehensdive list of references can be found at: Table 1. The compatibility of four commercially available PHA. At the same time, the rapid development of synthetic biology, gene editing, metabolic engineering and other technologies has further expanded the variety and commercial application prospects of PHA [42]. Same as the above four commercialscale PHA, the biocompatibility of these laboratory-scale PHA was also investigated preliminarily. For instance, Naveen et al. used saponified palm kernel oil and its major free fatty acids as carbon substrates for the production of an unmodified/raw medium chain length PHA (MCL PHA) and confirmed that this PHA could support human-derived By: Xu Zhang, Guo-Qiang Chen Key Laboratory of Industrial Biocatalysis, Ministry of Education Department of Chemical Engineering Center for Synthetic and Systems Biology School of Life Sciences Tsinghua University Tsinghua-Peking Center of Life Sciences Beijing, China bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/22] Vol. 17 49

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