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Biomacromolecules. 2007 Jun;8(6):1844-50. Epub 2007 May 25.

Novel hydrogels via click chemistry: synthesis and potential biomedical applications.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Rome Sapienza, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.


A novel procedure for the in situ rapid chemical gelation of aqueous solutions of hyaluronan has been employed. In brief, water-soluble polysaccharide derivatives bearing side chains endowed with either azide or alkyne terminal functionality have been prepared. When the latter two types of derivatives are mixed together in aqueous solution they give rise to a 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction resulting in fast gelation (in the presence of catalytic amounts of Cu(I)) at room temperature. Gel formation has been characterized rheologically and could also be followed qualitatively by means of IR spectroscopy. The resulting gels have been studied in terms of swelling properties and, in particular, NMR spectral features. Carrying out the gelation process in aqueous solutions of benzidamine and doxorubicin, respectively, the polysaccharide networks acted as drug reservoirs. The doxorubicin release resulted in well controllable acting upon the gels degree of cross-linking. Finally, formation of the click-gels using aqueous suspensions of Saccharomices cerevisiae yeast cells allowed the obtainment of scaffolds inside which cells were homogeneously distributed and smoothly adhered to the inner pores surfaces, according to SEM analysis. After 24 h about 60% of the entrapped cells exhibited proliferating activity. Click-gels prepared as detailed herein do have a number of positive features that make them, in perspective, materials of choice for drug release and tissue engineering manipulations.

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