Temporal Control of Gelation and Polymerization Fronts Driven by an Autocatalytic Enzyme Reaction.
ABSTRACT: Chemical systems that remain kinetically dormant until activated have numerous applications in materials science. Herein we present a method for the control of gelation that exploits an inbuilt switch: the increase in pH after an induction period in the urease-catalyzed hydrolysis of urea was used to trigger the base-catalyzed Michael addition of a water-soluble trithiol to a polyethylene glycol diacrylate. The time to gelation (minutes to hours) was either preset through the initial concentrations or the reaction was initiated locally by a base, thus resulting in polymerization fronts that converted the mixture from a liquid into a gel (ca. 0.1?mm?min(-1)). The rate of hydrolytic degradation of the hydrogel depended on the initial concentrations, thus resulting in a gel lifetime of hours to months. In this way, temporal programming of gelation was possible under mild conditions by using the output of an autocatalytic enzyme reaction to drive both the polymerization and subsequent degradation of a hydrogel.
Project description:Chemical systems that remain kinetically dormant until activated have numerous applications in materials science. Herein we present a method for the control of gelation that exploits an inbuilt switch: the increase in pH after an induction period in the urease-catalyzed hydrolysis of urea was used to trigger the base-catalyzed Michael addition of a water-soluble trithiol to a polyethylene glycol diacrylate. The time to gelation (minutes to hours) was either preset through the initial concentrations or the reaction was initiated locally by a base, thus resulting in polymerization fronts that converted the mixture from a liquid into a gel (ca. 0.1?mm?min(-1)). The rate of hydrolytic degradation of the hydrogel depended on the initial concentrations, thus resulting in a gel lifetime of hours to months. In this way, temporal programming of gelation was possible under mild conditions by using the output of an autocatalytic enzyme reaction to drive both the polymerization and subsequent degradation of a hydrogel.
Project description:We demonstrate the formation of polyethylene glycol (PEG) based hydrogels via oxime ligation and the photoinitiated thiol-ene 3D patterning of peptides within the hydrogel matrix postgelation. The gelation process and final mechanical strength of the hydrogels can be tuned using pH and the catalyst concentration. The time scale to reach the gel point and complete gelation can be shortened from hours to seconds using both pH and aniline catalyst, which facilitates the tuning of the storage modulus from 0.3 to over 15 kPa. Azide- and alkene-functionalized hydrogels were also synthesized, and we have shown the post gelation "click"-type Huisgen 1,3 cycloaddition and thiolene-based radical reactions for spatially defined peptide incorporation. These materials are the initial demonstration for translationally relevant hydrogel materials that possess tunable mechanical regimes attractive to soft tissue engineering and possess atom neutral chemistries attractive for post gelation patterning in the presence or absence of cells.
Project description:The diverse requirements of hydrogels for tissue engineering motivate the development of cross-linking reactions to fabricate hydrogel networks with specific features, particularly those amenable to the activity of biological materials (e.g., cells, proteins) that do not require exposure to UV light. We describe gelation kinetics for a library of thiolated poly(ethylene glycol) sulfhydryl hydrogels undergoing enzymatic cross-linking via horseradish peroxidase, a catalyst-driven reaction activated by hydrogen peroxide. We report the use of small-amplitude oscillatory shear (SAOS) to quantify gelation kinetics as a function of reaction conditions (hydrogen peroxide and polymer concentrations). We employ a novel approach to monitor the change of viscoelastic properties of hydrogels over the course of gelation (? tgel) via the time derivative of the storage modulus (d G'/d t). This approach, fundamentally distinct from traditional methods for defining a gel point, quantifies the time interval over which gelation events occur. We report that gelation depends on peroxide and polymer concentrations as well as system temperature, where the effects of hydrogen peroxide tend to saturate over a critical concentration. Further, this cross-linking reaction can be reversed using l-cysteine for rapid cell isolation, and the rate of hydrogel dissolution can be monitored using SAOS.
Project description:Gelation kinetics is important in tailoring chemically crosslinked hydrogel-based injectable adhesives for different applications. However, the regulation of gelation rate is usually limited to varying the gel precursor and/or crosslinker concentration, which cannot reach a fine level and inevitably alters the physical properties of hydrogels. Amidation reactions are widely used to synthesize hydrogel adhesives. In this work, we propose a traditional Chinese medicine (Borax)-input strategy to tune the gelation rate of amidation reaction triggered systems. Borax provides an initial basic buffer environment to promote the deprotonation process of amino groups and accelerate this reaction. By using a tissue adhesive model PEG-lysozyme (PEG-LZM), the gelation time can be modulated from seconds to minutes with varying Borax concentrations, while the physical properties remain constant. Moreover, the antibacterial ability can be improved due to the bioactivity of Borax. The hydrogel precursors can be regulated to solidify instantly to close the bleeding wound at emergency. Meanwhile, they can also be customized to match the flowing time in the catheter, thereby facilitating minimally invasive tissue sealing. Because this method is easily operated, we envision Borax adjusted amidation-type hydrogel has a promising prospect in clinical application.
Project description:Thermosensitive gels are commonly used as drug carriers in medical fields, mainly due to their convenient processing and easy functionalization. However, their overall performance has been severely affected by their unsatisfying biocompatibility and biodegradability. To this end, we synthesized poly(l-alanine) (PLAla)-based thermosensitive hydrogels with different degrees of polymerization by ring-opening polymerization. The obtained mPEG45−PLAla copolymers showed distinct transition temperatures and degradation abilities. It was found that slight changes in the length of hydrophobic side groups had a decisive effect on the gelation behavior of the polypeptide hydrogel. Longer hydrophobic ends led to a lower gelation temperature of gel at the same concentration, which implied better gelation capability. The hydrogels showed rapid gelling, enhanced biocompatibility, and better degradability. Therefore, this thermosensitive hydrogel is a promising material for biomedical application.
Project description:This study describes a novel microfluidic-based method for the synthesis of hydrogel microsprings that are capable of encapsulating various functional materials. A continuous flow of alginate pre-gel solution can spontaneously form a hydrogel microspring by anisotropic gelation around the bevel-tip of the capillary. This technique allows fabrication of hydrogel microsprings using only simple capillaries and syringe pumps, while their complex compartmentalization characterized by a laminar flow inside the capillary can contribute to the optimization of the microspring internal structure and functionality. Encapsulation of several functional materials including magnetic-responsive nanoparticles or cell dispersed collagen for tissue scaffold was demonstrated to functionalize the microsprings. Our core-shell hydrogel microsprings have immense potential for application in a number of fields, including biological/chemical microsensors, biocompatible soft robots/microactuators, drug release, self-assembly of 3D structures and tissue engineering.
Project description:The formation of 10-40 ?m composite gel microparticles (CGMPs) comprised of ?100 nm drug containing nanoparticles (NPs) in a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) gel matrix is described. The CGMP particles enable targeting to the lung by filtration from the venous circulation. UV radical polymerization and Michael addition polymerization reactions are compared as approaches to form the PEG matrix. A fluorescent dye in the solid core of the NP was used to investigate the effect of reaction chemistry on the integrity of encapsulated species. When formed via UV radical polymerization, the fluorescence signal from the NPs indicated degradation of the encapsulated species by radical attack. The degradation decreased fluorescence by 90% over 15 min of UV exposure. When formed via Michael addition polymerization, the fluorescence was maintained. Emulsion processing using controlled shear stress enabled control of droplet size with narrow polydispersity. To allow for emulsion processing, the gelation rate was delayed by adjusting the solution pH. At a pH = 5.4, the gelation occurred at 3.5 h. The modulus of the gels was tuned over the range of 5 to 50 kPa by changing the polymer concentration between 20 and 70 vol %. NP aggregation during polymerization, driven by depletion forces, was controlled by the reaction kinetics. The ester bonds in the gel network enabled CGMP degradation. The gel modulus decreased by 50% over 27 days, followed by complete gel degradation after 55 days. This permits ultimate clearance of the CGMPs from the lungs. The demonstration of uniform delivery of 15.8 ± 2.6 ?m CGMPs to the lungs of mice, with no deposition in other organs, is shown, and indicates the ability to concentrate therapeutics in the lung while avoiding off-target toxic exposure.
Project description:Alkaline-urea aqueous solvent system provides a novel and important approach for the utilization of polysaccharide. As one of the most important polysaccharide, chitosan can be well dissolved in this solvent system, and the resultant hydrogel material possesses unique and excellent properties. Thus the sound understanding of the gelation process is fundamentally important. However, current study of the gelation process is still limited due to the absence of direct observation and the lack of attention on the entire process. Here we show the entire gelation process of chitosan LiOH-urea aqueous system by aggregation-induced emission fluorescent imaging. Accompanied by other pseudo in situ investigations, we propose the mechanism of gelation process, focusing on the formation of junction points including hydrogen bonds and crystalline.
Project description:Hydrogels are formed using various triggers, including light irradiation, pH adjustment, heating, cooling, or chemical addition. Here, a new method for forming hydrogels is introduced: ultrasound-triggered enzymatic gelation. Specifically, ultrasound is used as a stimulus to liberate liposomal calcium ions, which then trigger the enzymatic activity of transglutaminase. The activated enzyme catalyzes the formation of fibrinogen hydrogels through covalent intermolecular crosslinking. The catalysis and gelation processes are monitored in real time and both the enzyme kinetics and final hydrogel properties are controlled by varying the initial ultrasound exposure time. This technology is extended to microbubble-liposome conjugates, which exhibit a stronger response to the applied acoustic field and are also used for ultrasound-triggered enzymatic hydrogelation. To the best of the knowledge, these results are the first instance in which ultrasound is used as a trigger for either enzyme catalysis or enzymatic hydrogelation. This approach is highly versatile and can be readily applied to different ion-dependent enzymes or gelation systems. Moreover, this work paves the way for the use of ultrasound as a remote trigger for in vivo hydrogelation.
Project description:In this work, poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) molecules were grafted to silk fibroin (SF) molecules via a thiol-ene click reaction under 405 nm UV illumination for the fabrication of a PEGDA/SF composite hydrogel. The composite hydrogels could be prepared in a short and controllable gelation time without the use of a photoinitiator. Features relevant to the drug delivery of the PEGDA/SF hydrogels were assessed, and the hydrogels were characterized by various techniques. The results showed that the prepared PEGDA/SF hydrogels demonstrated a good sustained-release performance with limited swelling behavior. It was found that a prior cooling step can improve the compressive strength of the hydrogels effectively. Additionally, the MTT assay indicated the prepared PEGDA/SF hydrogel is non-cytotoxic. Subcutaneous implantation of the PEGDA/SF hydrogel in Kunming mice did not induce an obvious inflammation, which revealed that the prepared PEGDA/SF hydrogel possessed good biocompatibility. Furthermore, the mechanism of the gelation process was discussed.