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Biomacromolecules. 2012 Aug 13;13(8):2279-86. doi: 10.1021/bm300518e. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

One-step synthesis of biodegradable curcumin-derived hydrogels as potential soft tissue fillers after breast cancer surgery.

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New Jersey Center for Biomaterials and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, United States.


A one-step synthesis of a curcumin-derived hydrogel (curcumin content of 25-75 mol %) is reported. Curcumin is incorporated into the hydrogel backbone and cross-linked through biodegradable carbonate linkages. Curcumin as a part of the polymer backbone is protected from oxidation and degradation, while hydrogel hydrolysis results in the release of active curcumin. Nontoxic poly(ethylene glycol) and desaminotyrosyl-tyrosine ethyl ester are used to tune the hydrophilic/hydrophobic hydrogel properties. In this way, hydrogels with a wide range of physical properties including water-uptake (100-550%) and compression moduli (7-100 kPa) were obtained. Curcumin release is swelling-controlled and could be extended to 80 days. In vitro, curcumin-derived hydrogels showed selective cytotoxicity against MDA-MB-231 (IC(50) 9 μM) breast cancer cells but no cytotoxicity to noncancerous quiescent human dermal fibroblasts even at high curcumin concentrations (160 μM). One possible application of these curcumin-derived hydrogels is as soft tissue filler after surgical removal of cancerous tissue.

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