The mechanical milieu of the extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a key role in modulating the cellular responses. The native ECM exhibits viscoelasticity with stress relaxation behavior. Here, we reported the preparation of degradation-mediated stress relaxing semi-interpenetrating (semi-IPN) polymeric networks of hydroxyethyl cellulose in the crosslinked gelatin-polyethylene glycol (PEG) architecture, leveraging a newly developed synthesis protocol which successively includes one-pot gelation under physiological conditions, freeze-drying and a post-curing process. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) confirmed the formation of the semi-IPN blend mixture. A surface morphology analysis revealed an open pore porous structure with a compact skin on the surface. The hydrogel showed a high water-absorption ability (720.00 ± 32.0%) indicating the ability of retaining a hydrophilic nature even after covalent crosslinking with functionalized PEG. Detailed mechanical properties such as tensile, compressive, cyclic compression and stress relaxation tests were conducted at different intervals over 28 days of hydrolytic degradation. Overall, the collective mechanical properties of the hydrogel resembled the mechanics of cartilage tissue. The rate of stress relaxation gradually increased with an increasing swelling ratio. Hydrolytic degradation led to a marked increase in the percentage dissipation energy and stress relaxation response, indicating the degradation-dependent viscoelasticity of the hydrogel. Strikingly, the hydrogel maintained the structural stability even after degrading two-thirds of its initial mass after a month-long hydrolytic degradation. This study demonstrates that this semi-IPN G-PEG-HEC hydrogel possesses bright prospects as a potential scaffolding material in tissue engineering.

Degradation-dependent stress relaxing semi-interpenetrating networks of hydroxyethyl cellulose in gelatin-peg hydrogel with good mechanical stability and reversibility

Agnelli S.;Borsani E.;Sartore L.
2021-01-01

Abstract

The mechanical milieu of the extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a key role in modulating the cellular responses. The native ECM exhibits viscoelasticity with stress relaxation behavior. Here, we reported the preparation of degradation-mediated stress relaxing semi-interpenetrating (semi-IPN) polymeric networks of hydroxyethyl cellulose in the crosslinked gelatin-polyethylene glycol (PEG) architecture, leveraging a newly developed synthesis protocol which successively includes one-pot gelation under physiological conditions, freeze-drying and a post-curing process. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) confirmed the formation of the semi-IPN blend mixture. A surface morphology analysis revealed an open pore porous structure with a compact skin on the surface. The hydrogel showed a high water-absorption ability (720.00 ± 32.0%) indicating the ability of retaining a hydrophilic nature even after covalent crosslinking with functionalized PEG. Detailed mechanical properties such as tensile, compressive, cyclic compression and stress relaxation tests were conducted at different intervals over 28 days of hydrolytic degradation. Overall, the collective mechanical properties of the hydrogel resembled the mechanics of cartilage tissue. The rate of stress relaxation gradually increased with an increasing swelling ratio. Hydrolytic degradation led to a marked increase in the percentage dissipation energy and stress relaxation response, indicating the degradation-dependent viscoelasticity of the hydrogel. Strikingly, the hydrogel maintained the structural stability even after degrading two-thirds of its initial mass after a month-long hydrolytic degradation. This study demonstrates that this semi-IPN G-PEG-HEC hydrogel possesses bright prospects as a potential scaffolding material in tissue engineering.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11379/550883
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