Bioinspired Hydrogel Coating Based on Methacryloyl Gelatin Bioactivates Polypropylene Meshes for Abdominal Wall Repair
Abstract: Considering the potential of hydrogels to mimic the cellular microenvironment, methacryloyl gelatin (GelMA) and methacryloyl mucin (MuMA) were selected and compared as bioinspired coatings for commercially available polypropylene (PP) meshes for ventral hernia repair. Thin, elastic hydrated hydrogel layers were obtained through network-forming photo-polymerization, after immobilization of derivatives on the surface of the PP fibers. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) proved the successful coating while the surface morphology and homogeneity were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The stability of the hydrogel layers was evaluated through biodynamic tests performed on the coated meshes for seven days, followed by inspection of surface morphology through SEM and micro-CT. Taking into account that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may improve healing due to its high concentration of growth factors, this extract was used as pre-treatment for the hydrogel coating to additionally stimulate cell interactions. The performed advanced characterization proved that GelMA and MuMA coatings can modulate fibroblasts response on PP meshes, either as such or supplemented with PRP extract as a blood-derived bioactivator. GelMA supported the best cellular response. These findings may extend the applicative potential of functionalized gelatin opening a new path on the research and engineering of a new generation of bioactive meshes.