Bioinspired tough gel sheath for robust and versatile surface functionalization

Zhenwei Ma, Zhen Yang, Qiman Gao, Guangyu Bao, Amin Valiei, Fan Yang, Ran Huo, Chen Wang, Guolong Song, Dongling Ma, Zu Hua Gao, Jianyu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Sutures pervade surgeries, but their performance is limited by the mechanical mismatch with tissues and the lack of advanced functionality. Existing modification strategies result in either deterioration of suture's bulk properties or a weak coating susceptible to rupture or delamination. Inspired by tendon endotenon sheath, we report a versatile strategy to functionalize fiber-based devices such as sutures. This strategy seamlessly unites surgical sutures, tough gel sheath, and various functional materials. Robust modification is demonstrated with strong interfacial adhesion (>2000 J m-2). The surface stiffness, friction, and drag of the suture when interfacing with tissues can be markedly reduced, without compromising the tensile strength. Versatile functionalization of the suture for infection prevention, wound monitoring, drug delivery, and near-infrared imaging is then presented. This platform technology is applicable to other fiber-based devices and foreseen to affect broad technological areas ranging from wound management to smart textiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabc3012
JournalScience Advances
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 7 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC, grant RGPIN-2018-04146), Canada Foundation for Innovation (grant 37719) and Fonds de Recherche du Qu?bec-Nature et technologies (FRQNT; grant NC-270740, PR-281851). Z.M. acknowledged the financial support from FRQNT Doctoral Research Scholarship and McGill Engineering Doctoral Award. D.M. was grateful for the financial support from NSERC and FRQNT.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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