- Mechanical sutures and staples are
most widely used for closure of surgical wounds but are invasive in nature
- Current chemical and tissue
bio-adhesives too have certain limitations
- Study finds sticky substance secreted by the
mussel a superior tissue bonding
material with reduced scar formation
A sticky substance secreted by the humble
with superior properties,
could be the future bioadhesive material of choice, according to a group of Korean
scientists at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH).
Mussel Protein As The New Surgical Glue
The mussel is a mollusc that occurs in
both seawater, as well as fresh water habitats. It secretes a
sticky substance that enables it to attach itself to underwater
surfaces. Inspired by such wonders of nature, a team of scientists in Korea have created a light-activated, mussel
protein-based bioadhesive (LAMBA) and tested it on rats.
Protein as New Surgical Glue - Methods and Findings of the Study
‘Light-activated, mussel protein-based bioadhesive (LAMBA) found to be a superior tissue bonding material compared to existing tissue adhesives. It reduces scar formation.’
In order to test the efficacy of mussel protein as surgical glue, the
research team combined a small portion
of decorin, a skin protein involved in collagen organization with
light-activated, mussel protein-based bioadhesive
- They tested it on rats with deep
8 mm wide wounds by spreading the glue on the wound and covering it
with plastic film.
- The control group of rats had their
wounds covered with only plastic film but no glue was applied.
- By day 11, the wound was closed in
99 percent of the test rats in comparison to 78 percent of the control rats.
- All the test rats recovered
completely by Day 28 with no visible evidence of scarring.
- The control rats, on the other hand,
had large and visible purple scars.
The results of the study confirm the
superiority of the mussel derived substance as a non-toxic surgical glue with
"If this can be replicated in humans, it
might be the next big thing for scar therapy," says Allison Cowin at the
University of South Australia, who wasn't involved in the study.
Was LAMBA Created?
Earlier research using mussel derived
adhesives were produced by recombinant technology using mussel adhesive
proteins (MAPs). This was done by modifying l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine
(DOPA), a substance critical to the mussel adhesive property.
The current study was inspired
by the observation that tyrosine residues in mussel adhesive proteins (MAPs)
undergo oxidation and couple to form dityrosine links which enhance structural
stability and improve adhesiveness in the form of hydrogel
Their adhesive was created by subjecting MAPs to photo-oxidation using visible blue light
Bioadhesive produced in this manner is more economical and reliable.
Is LAMBA Superior To Current Surgical Adhesives?
sutures and mechanical staples comprise the most widely used material to hold
surgical wounds together. However, due to their invasive nature they cause
severe tissue damage; moreover, they are unsuitable for use
in delicate soft tissues and internal organs.
their use is associated with inflammation and scar formation.
The need for surgical adhesives that
cause minimal tissue damage gave rise to tissue adhesives - both chemical, as well as biological adhesives.
Nevertheless, these adhesives are also limited in their efficacy. Chemical
adhesives, such as cyanoacrylates are associated with toxic
reactions and biological adhesives are not strong enough.
Also, most surgical glues do not hold
fast in a wet environment, which is essential for medical applications.
The mussel protein derived surgical glue
overcomes these drawbacks and is non-toxic, sticks almost instantly in wet
conditions and is easy
making it a preferred option for a wide range of medical applications.
Decorin and Mussel Protein Combination To Minimize Scar Formation Scars
occur when the
normal arrangement of collagen bundles is disturbed
. When the wound heals, the collagen fibers
grow back in parallel arrangement instead of the normal cross-linked basket
weave arrangement resulting in thick unsightly scars.
One way to reduce scar formation is to use decorin,
a skin protein involved in collagen organization. However, decorin
is difficult to synthesize due to its complex physical structure.
To counter these difficulties, the research team created a simplified
version of decorin and combined it with the mussel gloop
derived LAMBA. The
resulting combination demonstrated the properties of both better adhesiveness
as well as minimal scar formation.
"LAMBA opens numerous doors for
medical practices ranging from blocking air leaks and sutureless wound closures
of delicate organs or tissues beyond surgeons' reach, to hemostatic agent and
drug delivery medium, just to name a few," commented Dr. Cha, a
corresponding author of this study.
- Eun Young Jeona, Bong-Hyuk Choia, Dooyup Junga, Byeong Hee Hwangb, Hyung Joon Chaa. Natural healing-inspired collagen-targeting surgical protein glue for accelerated scarless skin regeneration. (2017) Biomaterials https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.04.041