Researchers said the adhesive will allow surgeons to glue living biological tissue, adding that the substance is not only friendly to the body and effective but also sticks quickly and can be peeled apart easily.
They said the adhesive has broad applications that are not limited to medical use other than as an agent for binding ruptured internal organs.
Tissue adhesives are mainly used during surgical procedures, most typically to stanch bleeding from section surfaces and to mend sutured wounds. Fibrin glues, which use the eponymous protein that is contained in blood, are available on a commercial basis. But there is a drawback: They have limited adhesive strength.
Takuya Matsumoto, a professor of biomaterials with the Okayama University Dental School, and his colleagues set their sights on hydroxyapatite (HAp), a key ingredient of bones and teeth that is used in medical supplies, toothpaste, health food items and other products.
HAp, by its nature, adsorbs proteins and other substances. The researchers designed fine structures that enhance the efficiency of protein adsorption, and devised a way to shape them into sheet and powder form.
When section surfaces, covered with the sheet and powder products, were pressed against each other, there was an immediate reaction with proteins in the tissue, and the surfaces were glued together. Adhesive strength tests using mouse skin tissue showed that the adhesive allowed a glued interface to withstand more than double the pulling force than a conventional fibrin glue.
A glued interface can be peeled apart completely, but only if copious amounts of water are applied, the researchers added.
“HAp has the advantages of being cheap, being an inorganic material that can be disinfected with heat, and being easy to handle,” said Masahiro Okada, an associate professor who handled the structural design.
HAp is a safe ingredient to eat, so HAp adhesives could be applied to nonmedical purposes, such as food processing, plant grafting and flower arrangement, Okada added.
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