Mussel Adhesive Technology Advances Towards a Viable Tissue Adhesive

Posted on 7/24/2018 8:42:10 AM By ASC

The natural adhesives mussels use to attach themselves to substrates under wet conditions have long been the subject of research aimed at the development of a biocompatible tissue adhesive for medical use. Mussel adhesives form stable crosslinks or chemical bonds between the proteins found in living tissue. However, inflammation or toxicity have presented obstacles.

Mussels may have the answers in the form of the enzymes they use to create the crosslinks. But so far, purifying and using them has proved problematic. To overcome this, research team from Seoul National University developed a way to produce a gel consisting of hyaluronic acid and gelatin and the enzyme tyrosinase produced by genetically modified bacteria. The result of this was the development of a tissue adhesive that can be applied as a spray or injected into tissue.

After finding that the combination did not show toxicity in cell cultures and that the adhesive’s properties could be adjusted by altering the amounts of hyaluronic acid or gelatin, the adhesive progressed to trials on live mice. Here, it proved more effective than current tissue adhesives in bonding to skin.

The addition of salt reduced the viscosity of the adhesive, allowing for an injectable formulation which did not show any toxic effects when injected under the skin of mice. Next, the team progressed to using the same mixture as an aerosol spray and successfully coated a mouse’s heart. The researchers concluded that the development shows promise for future use in regenerative medicine.