Research press release


Nature Communications

Biotechnology: Parasitic worm inspires better bandages for wet wounds


絆創膏は、濡れた皮膚にくっつきにくい。絆創膏に不可欠な化学接着剤の効果が、水によって大きく損なわれるからだ。今回、Jeffrey Karpたちは、この問題を克服するため、水との接触で膨潤するヒドロゲルでできた微細な針を数千本並べて作った貼付剤を開発した。こうした微細針を被覆した絆創膏を湿った生体組織に押しつけると、針が組織の表面を貫通し、膨潤して、生体組織と物理的に結合した状態が形成される。Karpたちは、内部寄生虫Pomphorhynchus laevisから発想を得て、この貼付剤を開発した。P. laevisは、針に似た長い口吻を宿主の腸壁に突き刺し、口吻の根元にある筋肉を使って、口吻を球状に膨潤させるのだ。


A nonchemical adhesive inspired by a parasitic worm that mechanically anchors itself to living tissue is reported in Nature Communications this week. The adhesive could improve the performance of self-adhesive bandages as it forms a much stronger bond in wet conditions than chemical adhesives that are currently used.

Self-adhesive bandages stick poorly to wet skin because water severely undermines the adhesive chemicals they rely on. To overcome this, Jeffrey Karp and colleagues have developed an adhesive that consists of an array of thousands of microscopic needles made from a hydrogel that swells when it comes in contact with water. When a bandage coated with such needles is pressed against moist living tissue, the needles penetrate the surface and swell up, forming a physically interlocking bond with the tissue. The authors took inspiration for their adhesive from the way in which the endoparasitic worm, Pomphorhynchus laevis, anchors itself within the intestine of a host. It does this by piercing the wall of the intestine with its long, needle-like proboscis, and then using muscles at its base to expand the proboscis into a bulb.

The team report that the adhesive performed significantly better than conventional adhesive bandages when tested on various animal tissues. It also achieved more than 3 times greater adhesive strength than surgical staples used for fixing skin grafts. The authors suggest that by loading the microneedles with therapeutic drugs, they could in future enable localized drug delivery.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms2715

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