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Biomacromolecules. 2016 Nov 14;17(11):3714-3723. Epub 2016 Oct 25.

Nanocellulose-Based Interpenetrating Polymer Network (IPN) Hydrogels for Cartilage Applications.

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Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University , SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
Division of Materials Science, Luleå University of Technology , 97187 Luleå, Sweden.
Department of Chemistry, Bishop Moore College , Mavelikara 690101, Kerala India.
Educell ltd., Prevale 9, 1236 Trzin, Slovenia.


Double cross-linked interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogels of sodium alginate and gelatin (SA/G) reinforced with 50 wt % cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) have been prepared via the freeze-drying process. The IPNs were designed to incorporate CNC with carboxyl surface groups as a part of the network contribute to the structural integrity and mechanical stability of the hydrogel. Structural morphology studies of the hydrogels showed a three-dimensional (3D) network of interconnected pores with diameters in the range of 10-192 μm and hierarchical pores with a nanostructured pore wall roughness, which has potential benefits for cell adhesion. Significant improvements in the tensile strength and strain were achieved in 98% RH at 37 °C for CNC cross-linked IPNs. The high porosity of the scaffolds (>93%), high phosphate buffered saline (PBS) uptake, and cytocompatibility toward mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are confirmed and considered beneficial for use as a substitute for cartilage.

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