Thermoreversible and Injectable ABC Polypeptoid Hydrogels: Controlling the Hydrogel Properties through Molecular Design
© 2015 American Chemical Society. A series of ABC triblock copolypeptoids [i.e., poly(N-allyl glycine)-b-poly(N-methyl glycine)-b-poly(N-decyl glycine) (AMD)] with well-defined structure and varying composition have been synthesized by sequential primary amine-initiated ring-opening polymerization of the corresponding N-substituted N-carboxyanhydride monomers (Al-NCA, Me-NCA, and De-NCA). The ABC block copolypeptoids undergo sol-to-gel transitions with increasing temperature in water and biological media at low concentrations (2.5-10 wt %). The sol-gel transition is rapid and fully reversible with a narrow transition window, evidenced by the rheological measurements. The gelation temperature (Tgel) and mechanical stiffness of the hydrogels are highly tunable: Tgel in the 26.2-60.0 °C range, the storage modulus (G′) and Young's modulus (E) in the 0.2-780 Pa and 0.5-2346 Pa range, respectively, at the physiological temperature (37 °C) can be readily accessed by controlling the block copolypeptoid composition and the polymer solution concentration. The hydrogel is injectable through a 24 gauge syringe needle and maintains their shape upon in contact with surfaces or water baths that are kept above the sol-gel transition temperature. The hydrogels exhibit minimal cytotoxicity toward human adipose derived stem cells (hASCs), evidenced from both alamarBlue and PicoGreen assays. Furthermore, quantitative PCR analysis revealed significant up-regulation of the Col2a1 gene and down-regulation of ANGPT1 gene, suggesting that the hydrogel exhibit biological activity in inducing chondrogenesis of hASCs. It was also demonstrated that the hydrogel can be used to quantitatively encapsulate water-soluble enzymes (e.g., horseradish peroxidase) by manipulating the sol-gel transition. The enzymatic activity of HRP remain unperturbed after encapsulation at 37 °C for up to 7 d, suggesting that the hydrogel does not adversely affect the enzyme structure and thereby the enzymatic activity. These results suggest that the polypeptoid hydrogel a promising synthetic platform for tissue engineering or protein storage applications.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Chemistry of Materials
Xuan, S., Lee, C., Chen, C., Doyle, A., Zhang, Y., Guo, L., John, V., Hayes, D., & Zhang, D. (2016). Thermoreversible and Injectable ABC Polypeptoid Hydrogels: Controlling the Hydrogel Properties through Molecular Design. Chemistry of Materials, 28 (3), 727-737. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b03528