ABA triblock copolymer based hydrogels with thermo-sensitivity for biomedical applications


Oligo(ethylene glycol)-oligo(propylene glycol)-oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG-OPG-OEG) triblock copolymers are hydrogel forming and extensively investigated in the field of drug release due to their biocompatibility and thermo-sensitivity. Here the synthesis and characterization of OEG-OPG-OEG based polymer networks from methacrylated oligomers by photo-irradiation are reported. Two precursors were selected to have comparable hydrophilicity (80 wt% OEG content) but different molecular weights of M n = 8400 g·mol-1 and 14600 g·mol-1. The precursor solutions were prepared in concentration 10 to 30 wt%. The resulting polymer networks prepared from high M n precursors exhibited higher swellability at equilibrium (up to 3400%) and mechanical properties in the range of G’ ∼ 0.1 to 1 kPa at 5 °C compared to networks based on low M n precursors. A more significant thermo-sensitive behavior in terms of swellability, volumetric contraction and mechanical transition, starting at 30 °C could also be observed for the networks based on high M n precursors, thus promoting future application in the field of drug release.
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