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Biomaterials. 2002 Nov;23(22):4325-32.

Photocrosslinkable polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels that can be modified with cell adhesion peptides for use in tissue engineering.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005-1892, USA.


Photoactive polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels (PVA) have been investigated for use as tissue engineering scaffolds. These materials allow in situ polymerization for minimally invasive implantation methods. The mechanical properties of these materials can be tailored for a variety of soft tissue applications. The Young's modulus and ultimate tensile strength of PVA hydrogels are increased with increasing polymer concentration, and highly elastic hydrogels can be formed by altering the number of crosslinkable groups per chain. Fibroblasts homogeneously seeded within 3 mm thick PVA hydrogels remained viable throughout 2 weeks in culture, with no differences in viability across the thickness of the hydrogel. Cells seeded within the PVA hydrogels also produce extracellular matrix proteins, as indicated by the production of hydroxyproline during culture. Intrinsically cell non-adhesive, these PVA hydrogels were functionalized with the cell-adhesive peptide RGDS and found to support the attachment and spreading of fibroblasts in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that photopolymerizable PVA hydrogels are promising for tissue engineering applications.

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