Laser welding of ruptured intestinal tissue using plasmonic polypeptide nanocomposite solders

Huang Chiao Huang, Candace Rae Walker, Alisha Nanda, Kaushal Rege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Approximately 1.5 million people suffer from colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease in the United States. Occurrence of leakage following standard surgical anastomosis in intestinal and colorectal surgery is common and can cause infection leading to life-threatening consequences. In this report, we demonstrate that plasmonic nanocomposites, generated from elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) cross-linked with gold nanorods, can be used to weld ruptured intestinal tissue upon exposure to near-infrared (NIR) laser irradiation. Mechanical properties of these nanocomposites can be modulated based on the concentration of gold nanorods embedded within the ELP matrix. We employed photostable, NIR-absorbing cellularized and noncellularized GNR-ELP nanocomposites for ex vivo laser welding of ruptured porcine small intestines. Laser welding using the nanocomposites significantly enhanced the tensile strength, leakage pressure, and bursting pressure of ruptured intestinal tissue. This, in turn, provided a liquid-tight seal against leakage of luminal liquid from the intestine and resulting bacterial infection. This study demonstrates the utility of laser tissue welding using plasmonic polypeptide nanocomposites and indicates the translational potential of these materials in intestinal and colorectal repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2988-2998
Number of pages11
JournalACS nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 23 2013


  • elastin-like polypeptide
  • gold nanorods
  • laser tissue welding
  • plasmonic biomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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