Scientists present a wound healing hydrogel with mechanical properties
Dr. Wang Rong's team from the Ningbo Institute of Biomedical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with researchers from Sun Yat-sen University and Nanchang University, has developed a controlled-release drug antibacterial hydrogel for wound healing.
Traditional hydrogels have limited effectiveness due to the lack of mechanical properties and adhesion to the skin. They are often unable to distribute the drug in such a way that it heals the wound effectively. To solve this problem, researchers have developed an antibacterial zwitterionic hydrogel with mechanical properties.
Micelles of Pluronic F127 diacrylate (F127DA) were used as macro-crosslinking agents and simultaneously as drug carriers. The micelle-laced hydrogel exhibited improved mechanical properties with tensile strength and tensile strain up to 112 kPa and 1420%, respectively, and compressive stress up to 1.41 MPa.
In addition, poly sulfobetaine methacrylate (polySBMA) was added to the gel to better adhere to tissues.
When the micelle-crosslinked hydrogel was subjected to mechanical stress, the weak hydrophobic bond in the micelles was destroyed, and the combination between the bioactive drug and the micelle core was destabilized. This resulted in reactive drug release. The results showed that this release can be precisely controlled with mechanical strength and cycles that confer broad-spectrum antibacterial properties on the hydrogel against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Finally, the zwitterionic polySBMA has a high hydration capacity to form a stable repellent layer in water.
The hydrogel showed good biocompatibility with mammalian cells and was effective in promoting full-thickness wound healing in mice.
The researchers note that the gel could be used to heal wounds in challenging dynamic environments.