The particle in the spider's web: transport through biological hydrogels

Jacob Witten, Katharina Ribbeck
2017 Nanoscale  
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Detailed Terms http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ The MIT Faculty has made this article openly available. Please share how this access benefits you. Your story matters. Abstract Biological hydrogels such as mucus, extracellular matrix, biofilms, and the nuclear pore have diverse functions and compositions, but all act as selectively permeable barriers to the diffusion of particles. Each barrier has a crosslinked polymeric
more » ... that blocks penetration of large particles such as pathogens, nanotherapeutics, or macromolecules. These polymeric meshes also employ interactive filtering, in which affinity between solutes and the gel matrix controls permeability. Interactive filtering affects the transport of particles of all sizes including peptides, antibiotics, and nanoparticles and in many cases this filtering can be described in terms of the effects of charge and hydrophobicity. The concepts described in this review can guide strategies to exploit or overcome gel barriers, particularly for applications in diagnostics, pharmacology, biomaterials, and drug delivery. Graphical abstract Transport through biological hydrogels is an important biological process and of fundamental importance for drug delivery.
doi:10.1039/c6nr09736g pmid:28580973 pmcid:PMC5841163 fatcat:2bdhnej6tjat5bmtnxrgfq3lxy