Author(s): Suri S, Schmidt CE
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Abstract To engineer complex tissues, it is necessary to create hybrid scaffolds with micropatterned structural and biomechanical properties, which can closely mimic the intricate body tissues. The current report describes the synthesis of a novel photocrosslinkable interpenetrating polymeric network (IPN) of collagen and hyaluronic acid (HA) with precisely controlled structural and biomechanical properties. Both collagen and HA are present in crosslinked form in IPNs, and the two networks are entangled with each other. IPNs were also compared with semi-IPNs (SIPN), in which only collagen was in network form and HA chains were entangled in the collagen network without being photocrosslinked. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed that IPNs are denser than SIPNs, which results in their molecular reinforcement. This was further confirmed by rheological experiments. Because of the presence of the HA crosslinked network, the storage modulus of IPNs was almost two orders of magnitude higher than SIPNs. The degradation of the collagen-HA IPNs was slower than the SIPNs because of the presence of the crosslinked HA network. Increasing concentration of HA further altered the properties among IPNs. Cytocompatibility of IPNs was confirmed by Schwann cell and dermal fibroblasts adhesion and proliferation studies. We also fabricated patterned scaffolds with regions of IPNs and SIPNs within a bulk hydrogel, resulting in zonal distribution of crosslinking densities, viscoelasticities, water content and pore sizes at the micro- and macro-scales. With the ability to fine-tune the scaffold properties by performing structural modifications and to create patterned scaffolds, these hydrogels can be employed as potential candidates for regenerative medicine applications.
This article was published in Acta Biomater
and referenced in Advancements in Genetic Engineering