Extracellular matrix provides critical signaling context to resident cells through mechanical and bioactive properties. To realize the potential of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biomaterials should allow for the independent control of these features. This study investigates a hydrogel system based on thiol-modified hyaluronic acid (HA-S) and polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA). The mechanical properties of HAS-PEGDA are dictated by two cytocompatible crosslinking reactions that occur at distinct time points: a rapid, Michael-type nucleophilic addition reaction between HA-thiols and PEG-acrylates and a prolonged maturation of disulfide crosslinks from remaining thiols. It is hypothesized that these reactions would enable the independent tuning of the mechanical and bioactive features of HAS-PEGDA. Rheological studies confirmed that initial gelation reached completion by 1 day, at which point the shear modulus was proportional to the concentration of PEGDA. Over time, the shear modulus evolved dramatically, and final stiffness depended on the availability of HA-thiols. The addition of PEG-monoacrylate (PEGMA) after the initial gelation occupied a percentage of remaining thiols to prevent disulfide crosslinking, decreasing the steady-state stiffness in a dose-dependent manner. A fraction of the PEGMA was then replaced with acrylated peptide ligands to introduce specific bioactivity to the otherwise non-cell-adhesive network. The degree of latent stiffening was controlled by the total amount of peptide-PEGMA, while adhesivity was tuned with the balance of bioactive and inactive peptides. The functional effects of the tunable mechanical and bioadhesive ligand properties were confirmed with assays of cell adhesion and morphology.
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Research Article| January 02 2020
Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels with independently tunable mechanical and bioactive signaling features
Madison D. Godesky ;
Madison D. Godesky, David I. Shreiber; Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels with independently tunable mechanical and bioactive signaling features. Biointerphases 1 November 2019; 14 (6): 061005. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5126493
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