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Biomacromolecules. 2013 Nov 11;14(11):4125-34. doi: 10.1021/bm401280z. Epub 2013 Oct 14.

Rational design of network properties in guest-host assembled and shear-thinning hyaluronic acid hydrogels.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, United States.


Shear-thinning hydrogels afford direct injection or catheter delivery to tissues without potential premature gel formation and delivery failure or the use of triggers such as chemical initiators or heat. However, many shear-thinning hydrogels require long reassembly times or exhibit rapid erosion. We developed a shear-thinning hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogel based on the guest-host interactions of adamantane modified HA (guest macromer, Ad-HA) and β-cyclodextrin modified HA (host macromer, CD-HA). The ability of the guest and host molecules to interact with their counterpart following conjugation to HA was confirmed by (1)H NMR spectroscopy and was similar to that of the native complex. Mixing of Ad-HA and CD-HA resulted in rapid formation of a hydrogel composed of guest-host bonds. The hydrogel physical properties, including mechanics and flow characteristics, were dependent on cross-link density and network structure, which were controlled through macromer concentration, the extent of guest macromer modification, and the molar ratio of guest and host functional groups. The guest-host assembly mechanism permitted both shear-thinning behavior for ease of injection and near-instantaneous reassembly for material retention at the target sight. The hydrogel erosion and release of a model biomolecule were also dependent on design parameters and were sustained for over 60 days. These hydrogels show potential as a minimally invasive injectable hydrogel for biomedical applications.

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