Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels crosslinked by copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition with tailorable mechanical properties


Biopolymers of the extracellular matrix are attractive starting materials for providing degradable and biocompatible biomaterials. In this study, hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties were prepared by the use of copper- catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (known as “click chemistry”). Alkyne-functionalized hyaluronic acid was crosslinked with linkers having two terminal azide functionalities, varying crosslinker density as well as the lengths and rigidity of the linker molecules. By variation of the crosslinker density and crosslinker type, hydrogels with elastic moduli in the range of 0.5-4 kPa were prepared. The washed materials contained a maximum of 6.8 mg copper per kg dry weight and the eluate of the gel crosslinked with diazidostilbene did not show toxic effects on L929 cells. The hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels have potential as biomaterials for cell culture or soft tissue regeneration applications.
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