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This content will become publicly available on June 30, 2024

Title: Design Parameters for Injectable Biopolymeric Hydrogels with Dynamic Covalent Chemistry Crosslinks

Dynamic covalent chemistry (DCC) crosslinks can form hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties permissive to injectability and self‐healing. However, not all hydrogels with transient crosslinks are easily extrudable. For this reason, two additional design parameters must be considered when formulating DCC‐crosslinked hydrogels: 1) degree of functionalization (DoF) and 2) polymer molecular weight (MW). To investigate these parameters, hydrogels comprised of two recombinant biopolymers: 1) a hyaluronic acid (HA) modified with benzaldehyde and 2) an elastin‐like protein (ELP) modified with hydrazine (ELP‐HYD), are formulated. Several hydrogel families are synthesized with distinct HA MW and DoF while keeping the ELP‐HYD component constant. The resulting hydrogels have a range of stiffnesses,G′ ≈ 10–1000 Pa, and extrudability, which is attributed to the combined effects of DCC crosslinks and polymer entanglements. In general, lower MW formulations require lower forces for injectability, regardless of stiffness. Higher DoF formulations exhibit more rapid self‐healing. Gel extrusion through a cannula (2 m length, 0.25 mm diameter) demonstrates the potential for minimally invasive delivery for future biomedical applications. In summary, this work highlights additional parameters that influence the injectability and network formation of DCC‐crosslinked hydrogels and aims to guide future design of injectable hydrogels.

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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Healthcare Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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