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Biomacromolecules. 2005 Jan-Feb;6(1):386-91.

Controlled degradation and mechanical behavior of photopolymerized hyaluronic acid networks.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Hyaluronic acid is a natural polysaccharide found abundantly throughout the body with many desirable properties for application as a biomaterial, including scaffolding for tissue engineering. In this work, hyaluronic acid with molecular weights ranging from 50 to 1100 kDa was modified with methacrylic anhydride and photopolymerized into networks with a wide range of physical properties. With macromer concentrations from 2 to 20 wt %, networks exhibited volumetric swelling ratios ranging from approximately 42 to 8, compressive moduli ranging from approximately 2 to over 100 kPa, and degradation times ranging from less than 1 day up to almost 38 days in the presence of 100 U/mL of hyaluronidase. When 3T3-fibroblasts were photoencapsulated in the hydrogels, cells remained viable with low macromer concentrations but decreased sequentially as the macromer concentration increased. Finally, auricular swine chondrocytes produced neocartilage when photoencapsulated in the hyaluronic acid networks. This work presents a next step toward the development of advanced in vivo curable biomaterials.

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