Dynamic Mechanical Control of Alginate-Fibronectin Hydrogels with Dual Crosslinking: Covalent and Ionic

Sara Trujillo, Melanie Seow, Aline Lueckgen, Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez, Amaia Cipitria
2021 Polymers  
Alginate is a polysaccharide used extensively in biomedical applications due to its biocompatibility and suitability for hydrogel fabrication using mild reaction chemistries. Though alginate has commonly been crosslinked using divalent cations, covalent crosslinking chemistries have also been developed. Hydrogels with tuneable mechanical properties are required for many biomedical applications to mimic the stiffness of different tissues. Here, we present a strategy to engineer alginate
more » ... with tuneable mechanical properties by covalent crosslinking of a norbornene-modified alginate using ultraviolet (UV)-initiated thiol-ene chemistry. We also demonstrate that the system can be functionalised with cues such as full-length fibronectin and protease-degradable sequences. Finally, we take advantage of alginate's ability to be crosslinked covalently and ionically to design dual crosslinked constructs enabling dynamic control of mechanical properties, with gels that undergo cycles of stiffening–softening by adding and quenching calcium cations. Overall, we present a versatile hydrogel with tuneable and dynamic mechanical properties, and incorporate cell-interactive features such as cell-mediated protease-induced degradability and full-length proteins, which may find applications in a variety of biomedical contexts.
doi:10.3390/polym13030433 pmid:33573020 fatcat:piyjoivakbgd7dj57rz5skprvq