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1.  Composite Scaffold of Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) and Interfacial Polyelectrolyte Complexation Fibers for Controlled Biomolecule Delivery 
Controlled delivery of hydrophilic proteins is an important therapeutic strategy. However, widely used methods for protein delivery suffer from low incorporation efficiency and loss of bioactivity. The versatile interfacial polyelectrolyte complexation (IPC) fibers have the capacity for precise spatiotemporal release and protection of protein, growth factor, and cell bioactivity. Yet its weak mechanical properties limit its application and translation into a viable clinical solution. To overcome this limitation, IPC fibers can be incorporated into polymeric scaffolds such as the biocompatible poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel (PVA). Therefore, we explored the use of a composite scaffold of PVA and IPC fibers for controlled biomolecule release. We first observed that the permeability of biomolecules through PVA films were dependent on molecular weight. Next, IPC fibers were incorporated in between layers of PVA to produce PVA–IPC composite scaffolds with different IPC fiber orientation. The composite scaffold demonstrated excellent mechanical properties and efficient biomolecule incorporation. The rate of biomolecule release from PVA–IPC composite grafts exhibited dependence on molecular weight, with lysozyme showing near-linear release for 1 month. Angiogenic factors were also incorporated into the PVA–IPC grafts, as a potential biomedical application of the composite graft. While vascular endothelial growth factor only showed a maximum cumulative release of 3%, the smaller PEGylated-QK peptide showed maximum release of 33%. Notably, the released angiogenic biomolecules induced endothelial cell activity thus indicating retention of bioactivity. We also observed lack of significant macrophage response against PVA–IPC grafts in a rabbit model. Showing permeability, mechanical strength, precise temporal growth factor release, and bioinertness, PVA–IPC fibers composite scaffolds are excellent scaffolds for controlled biomolecule delivery in soft tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC4315105
controlled release; hydrogel; interfacial polyelectrolyte; permeability; angiogenesis
2.  Enhanced Glucose Sensor Linearity Using Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Hydrogels 
High linearities, sensitivities, and low oxygen dependence constitute prime requisites for electrochemical glucose sensors. However, for implantable sensors the need to control tissue inflammation requires the use outer membranes that permit inward analyte diffusion while continuously releasing anti-inflammatory drugs and other tissue response-modifying (TRM) agents. We have shown previously that while outer membranes based on layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly enhance linearity, poly(vinyl alcohol)(PVA) hydrogels loaded with TRM-containing microspheres enable a significant reduction in tissue inflammation. This article discusses amperometric performance of glucose sensors coated with stacked LBL/PVA hydrogel outer membranes.
Sensors were fabricated by immobilizing glucose oxidase enzyme on a 50-μm platinum wire followed by deposition of stacked LBL/PVA hydrogel outer membranes. The sensor response to various glucose concentrations was determined by applying 0.7 V vs an Ag/AgCl reference electrode in phosphate-buffered saline (37°C). Michaelis–Menten analysis was performed to quantify sensor performance in terms of linearity (Km,gluapp) and oxygen dependence (Km,O2app/[Glucose]).
When overlaid onto LBL-assembled outer membranes, PVA hydrogels improved sensor linearity by 60% from 10 to 16 mM of glucose and resulted in a twofold decrease in oxygen dependence.
Enhancement in the performance of a PVA-coated sensor is attributed to the oxygen-storing capability of PVA hydrogel due to the formation of hydrophobic domains during its freezing and thawing employed to physical cross-link the PVA. Such membranes with the capability to release TRMs continuously while storing oxygen constitute a major improvement over current outer membrane technologies.
PMCID: PMC2769944  PMID: 20144336
apparent Michaelis-Menten constants; biosensor; freeze-thaw cycle; layer-by-layer assembly; linearity; outer membranes; oxygen content; oxygen dependence of biosensors; PVA hydrogels
3.  Effect of Dexamethasone-Loaded Poly(Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid) Microsphere/Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Hydrogel Composite Coatings on the Basic Characteristics of Implantable Glucose Sensors 
Hydrogels alone and in combination with microsphere drug delivery systems are being considered as biocompatible coatings for implantable glucose biosensors to prevent/minimize the foreign body response. Previously, our group has demonstrated that continuous release of dexamethasone from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microsphere/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel composites can successfully prevent foreign body response at the implantation site. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of this composite coating on sensor functionality.
The PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel coatings were prepared and applied to glucose biosensors. The swelling properties of the composite coatings and their diffusivity to glucose were evaluated as a function of microsphere loading. Sensor linearity, response time, and sensitivity were also evaluated as a function of coating composition.
The PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel composite coating did not compromise sensor linearity (sensors were linear up to 30 mM), which is well beyond the physiological glucose range (2 to 22 mM). The sensor response time did increase in the presence of the coating (from 10 to 19 s); however, this response time was still less than the average reported values. Although the sensitivity of the sensors decreased from 73 to 62 nA/mM glucose when the PLGA microsphere loading in the PVA hydrogel changed from 0 to 100 mg/ml, this reduced sensitivity is acceptable for sensor functionality. The changes in sensor response time and sensitivity were due to changes in glucose permeability as a result of the coatings. The embedded PLGA microspheres reduced the fraction of bulk water present in the hydrogel matrix and consequently reduced glucose diffusion.
This study demonstrates that the PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel composite coatings allow sufficient glucose diffusion and sensor functionality and therefore may be utilized as a smart coating for implantable glucose biosensors to enhance their in vivo functionality.
PMCID: PMC3570887  PMID: 23294792
glucose biosensor; hydrogel; linearity; microsphere; response time; sensitivity
4.  Microsphere Degradation in Outer Hydrogel Membranes Creates Macroscopic Porosity to Counter Biofouling-Induced Sensor Degradation 
Analytical chemistry  2012;84(20):8837-8845.
Biofouling and tissue inflammation present major challenges toward the realization of long-term implantable glucose sensors. Following sensor implantation, proteins and cells adsorb on sensor surfaces to not only inhibit glucose flux but also signal a cascade of inflammatory events that eventually lead to permeability-reducing fibrotic encapsulation. The use of drug-eluting hydrogels as outer sensor coatings has shown considerable promise to mitigate these problems via the localized delivery of tissue response modifiers to suppress inflammation and fibrosis, along with reducing protein and cell absorption. Biodegradable poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) microspheres encapsulated within a poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel matrix, presents a model coating where the localized delivery of the potent anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone has been shown to suppress inflammation over a period of 1-3 months. Here it is shown that the degradation of the PLGA microspheres provides an auxiliary venue to offset the negative effects of protein adsorption. This was realized by: 1) the creation of fresh porosity within the PVA hydrogel following microsphere degradation (which is sustained until the complete microsphere degradation); and 2) rigidification of the PVA hydrogel to prevent its complete collapse onto the newly created void space. Incubation of the coated sensors in PBS buffer led to a monotonic increase in glucose permeability (50%), with a corresponding enhancement in sensor sensitivity over a one-month period. Incubation in serum resulted in biofouling and consequent clogging of the hydrogel microporosity. This however, was partially offset by the generated macroscopic porosity following microsphere degradation. As a result of this, a two-fold recovery in sensor sensitivity for devices with microsphere/hydrogel composite coatings was observed as opposed to similar devices with blank hydrogel coatings. These findings suggest that the use of macroscopic porosity can reduce sensitivity drifts resulting from biofouling and this can be achieved synergistically with current efforts to mitigate negative tissue responses through localized and sustained drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3791326  PMID: 23039161
5.  Poly(vinyl alcohol) Rehydratable Photonic Crystal Sensor Materials** 
Advanced functional materials  2008;1186(1193):18-8.
We developed a new photonic crystal hydrogel material based on the biocompatible polymer poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA), which can be reversibly dehydrated and rehydrated, without the use of additional fillers, while retaining the diffraction and swelling properties of polymerized crystalline colloidal arrays (PCCA). This chemically modified PVA hydrogel photonic crystal efficiently diffracts light from the embedded crystalline colloidal array. This diffraction optically reports on volume changes occurring in the hydrogel by shifts in the wavelength of the diffracted light. We fabricated a pH sensor, which demonstrates a 350 nm wavelength shift between pH values of 3.3 and 8.5. We have also fabricated a Pb+2 sensor, in which pendant crown ether groups bind lead ions. Immobilization of the ions within the hydrogel increases the osmotic pressure due to the formation of a Donnan potential, swelling the hydrogel and shifting the observed diffraction in proportion to the concentration of bound ions. The sensing responses of rehydrated PVA pH and Pb+2 sensors were similar to that before drying. This reversibility of rehydration enables storage of these hydrogel photonic crystal sensors in the dry state, which makes them much more useful for commercial applications.
PMCID: PMC3111221  PMID: 21666875
6.  Gentamicin-Loaded Wound Dressing With Polyvinyl Alcohol/Dextran Hydrogel: Gel Characterization and In Vivo Healing Evaluation 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2010;11(3):1092-1103.
To develop a gentamicin-loaded wound dressing, cross-linked hydrogel films were prepared with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and dextran using the freezing–thawing method. Their gel properties such as gel fraction, swelling, water vapor transmission test, morphology, tensile strength, and thermal property were investigated. In vitro protein adsorption test, in vivo wound healing test, and histopathology were performed. Dextran decreased the gel fraction, maximum strength, and thermal stability of hydrogels. However, it increased the swelling ability, water vapor transmission rate, elasticity, porosity, and protein adsorption. The drug gave a little positive effect on the gel properties of hydrogels. The gentamicin-loaded wound dressing composed of 2.5% PVA, 1.13% dextran, and 0.1% drug was more swellable, flexible, and elastic than that with only PVA because of its cross-linking interaction with PVA. In particular, it could provide an adequate level of moisture and build up the exudates on the wound area. From the in vivo wound healing and histological results, this gentamicin-loaded wound dressing enhanced the healing effect more compared to conventional product because of the potential healing effect of gentamicin. Thus, this gentamicin-loaded wound dressing would be used as a potential wound dressing with excellent forming and improved healing effect in wound care.
PMCID: PMC2974132  PMID: 20607628
dextran; gentamicin; histological examination; wound dressing; wound healing effect
7.  Electric Field-Controlled Benzoic Acid and Sulphanilamide Delivery from Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Hydrogel 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2012;13(4):1407-1415.
The controlled release of benzoic acid (3.31 Å) and sulphanilamide (3.47 Å) from poly(vinyl alcohol), PVA, hydrogels fabricated by solution casting at various cross-linking ratios, were investigated. The PVA hydrogels were characterized in terms of the degree of swelling, the molecular weight between cross-links, and the mesh size. The drug release experiment was carried out using a modified Franz diffusion cell, at a pH value of 5.5 and at temperature of 37°C. The amount of drug release and the diffusion coefficients of the drugs from the PVA hydrogels increased with decreasing cross-linking ratio, as a larger mesh size was obtained with lower cross-linking ratios. With the application of an electric field, the amount of drug release and the diffusion coefficient increased monotonically with increasing electric field strength, since the resultant electrostatic force drove the ionic drugs from the PVA matrix. The drug size, matrix pore size, electrode polarity, and applied electric field were shown to be influential controlling factors for the drug release rate.
PMCID: PMC3513453  PMID: 23065453
electrophoresis force; ionic drug delivery; iontophoresis; poly(vinyl alcohol)
8.  Cell Therapy with Human MSCs Isolated from the Umbilical Cord Wharton Jelly Associated to a PVA Membrane in the Treatment of Chronic Skin Wounds 
The healing process of the skin is a dynamic procedure mediated through a complex feedback of growth factors secreted by a variety of cells types. Despite the most recent advances in wound healing management and surgical procedures, these techniques still fail up to 50%, so cellular therapies involving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are nowadays a promising treatment of skin ulcers which are a cause of high morbidity. The MSCs modulate the inflammatory local response and induce cell replacing, by a paracrine mode of action, being an important cell therapy for the impaired wound healing. The local application of human MSCs (hMSCs) isolated from the umbilical cord Wharton's jelly together with a poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel (PVA) membrane, was tested to promote wound healing in two dogs that were referred for clinical examination at UPVET Hospital, showing non-healing large skin lesions by the standard treatments. The wounds were infiltrated with 1000 cells/µl hMSCs in a total volume of 100 µl per cm2 of lesion area. A PVA membrane was applied to completely cover the wound to prevent its dehydration. Both animals after the treatment demonstrated a significant progress in skin regeneration with decreased extent of ulcerated areas confirmed by histological analysis. The use of Wharton's jelly MSCs associated with a PVA membrane showed promising clinical results for future application in the treatment of chronic wounds in companion animals and humans.
PMCID: PMC4115236  PMID: 25076843
Chronic wounds; mesenchymal stem cells; Wharton's jelly; PVA hydrogel; histology.
9.  Migration of Marrow Stromal Cells in Response to Sustained Release of Stromal-Derived Factor-1α from Poly(lactide ethylene oxide fumarate) Hydrogels 
Stromal derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) is an important chemokine in stem cell trafficking and plays a critical role in the homing of bone marrow stromal (BMS) cells. However, its use in tissue regeneration is limited by its relatively short half-life and the time-dependent nature of cell homing to the site of injury. The objective of this work was to investigate the release characteristics of SDF-1α from degradable poly (lactide ethylene oxide fumarate) (PLEOF) hydrogels and to determine the effect of sustained release of SDF-1α on migration of BMS cells. Three PLEOF hydrogels with poly(L-lactide) (PLA) fractions of 6, 9, and 24% by weight were synthesized. After the addition of chemokine, the polymerizing mixture was crosslinked to produce SDF-1α loaded PLEOF hydrogels. The hydrogels were characterized with respect to sol fraction, water uptake, degradation, SDF-1α loading efficiency and release kinetics, and migration rate of bone marrow stromal (BMS) cells. The more hydrophilic hydrogels with 6 and 9% PLA fraction had a pronounced burst release followed by a period of sustained release by diffusion for 21 days. The more hydrophobic hydrogel with 24% PLA fraction had a less pronounced burst release and displayed a slow but constant release by diffusion between days 1–9 followed by a fast release by diffusion-degradation from days 9 to 18. The fraction of active SDF-1α released from 6, 9, and 24% hydrogels after 21 days was 34.3, 32.3, and 35.8%, respectively. The migration of BMS cells in response to time-released SDF-1α closely followed the protein release kinetics from the hydrogels. The biodegradable PLEOF hydrogel may potentially be useful as a delivery matrix for sustained release of SDF-1α in the proliferative phase of healing for recruitment of progenitor cells in tissue engineering applications.
PMCID: PMC2859691  PMID: 20219655
Biodegradable hydrogel; Stromal derived factor-1α; Release kinetics; Marrow stromal cells; Cell migration
10.  Hyaluronic Acid-Based Hydrogels Containing Covalently Integrated Drug Depots: Implication for Controlling Inflammation in Mechanically Stressed Tissues 
Biomacromolecules  2013;14(11):10.1021/bm4011276.
Synthetic hydrogels containing covalently-integrated soft and deformable drug depots capable of releasing therapeutic molecules in response to mechanical forces are attractive candidates for the treatment of degenerated tissues that are normally load bearing. Herein, radically crosslinkable block copolymer micelles (xBCM) assembled from an amphiphilic block copolymer consisting of hydrophilic poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) partially modified with 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate, and hydrophobic poly(n-butyl acryclate) (PnBA) were employed as the drug depots and the microscopic crosslinkers for the preparation of hyaluronic acid (HA)-based, hydrogels. HA hydrogels containing covalently integrated micelles (HAxBCM) were prepared by radical polymerization of glycidyl methacrylate (GMA)-modified HA (HAGMA) in the presence of xBCMs. When micelles prepared from the parent PAA-b-PnBA without any polymerizable double bonds were used, hydrogels containing physically entrapped micelles (HApBCM) were obtained. The addition of xBCMs to a HAGMA precursor solution accelerated the gelation kinetics and altered the hydrogel mechanical properties. The resultant HAxBCM gels exhibit an elastic modulus of 847 ± 43 Pa and a compressive modulus of 9.2 ± 0.7 kPa. Diffusion analysis of Nile Red (NR)-labeled xBCMs employing fluorescence correlation spectroscopy confirmed the covalent immobilization of xBCMs in HA networks. Covalent integration of dexamethasone (DEX)-loaded xBCMs in HA gels significantly reduced the initial burst release and provided sustained release over a prolonged period. Importantly, DEX release from HAxBCM gels was accelerated by intermittently-applied external compression in a strain-dependent manner. Culturing macrophages in the presence of DEX-releasing HAxBCM gels significantly reduced cellular production of inflammatory cytokines. Incorporating mechano-responsive modules in synthetic matrices offers a novel strategy to harvest mechanical stress present in the healing wounds to initiate tissue repair.
PMCID: PMC3856199  PMID: 24093583
Block copolymer micelles; Mechano-responsive; Hyaluronic acid; Hydrogels; Anti-inflammatory; Drug delivery
11.  A Review of the Development of a Vehicle for Localized and Controlled Drug Delivery for Implantable Biosensors 
A major obstacle to the development of implantable biosensors is the foreign body response (FBR) that results from tissue trauma during implantation and the continuous presence of the implant in the body. The in vivo stability and functionality of biosensors are compromised by damage to sensor components and decreased analyte transport to the sensor. This paper summarizes research undertaken by our group since 2001 to control the FBR toward implanted sensors. Localized and sustained delivery of the anti-inflammatory drug, dexamethasone, and the angiogenic growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), was utilized to inhibit inflammation as well as fibrosis and provide a stable tissue–device interface without producing systemic adverse effects. The drug-loaded polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) microspheres were embedded in a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel composite to fabricate a drug-eluting, permeable external coating for implantable devices. The composites were fabricated using the freeze–thaw cycle method and had mechanical properties similar to soft body tissue. Dexamethasone-loaded microsphere/hydrogel composites were able to provide anti-inflammatory protection, preventing the FBR. Moreover, concurrent release of dexamethasone with VEGF induced neoangiogenesis in addition to providing anti-inflammatory protection. Sustained release of dexamethasone is required for the entire sensor lifetime, as a delayed inflammatory response developed after depletion of the drug from the composites. These studies have shown the potential of PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel-based composites as drug-eluting external coatings for implantable biosensors.
PMCID: PMC2769817  PMID: 19885291
biosensor; continuous release; dexamethasone; foreign body reaction; neoangiogenesis; implants; localized delivery; microspheres
12.  Effect of hydrophobic and hydrophilic additives on sol–gel transition and release behavior of timolol maleate from polycaprolactone-based hydrogel 
Colloid and polymer science  2011;289(14):1553-1562.
The objective of this work was to delineate the effect of hydrophilic and hydrophobic polymeric additives on sol–gel transition and release profile of timolol maleate (TM) from poly (ethylene glycol)–poly (ε-caprolactone)– poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG–PCL–PEG)-based thermosensitive hydrogel. Polycaprolactone (hydrophobic additive) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) (hydrophilic additive) reduced critical gel concentration of PEG–PCL–PEG triblock polymer. The effect of PCL on sol–gel transition was more pronounced than PVA. However, with PCL no statistically significant difference in release profile was observed. The effect of PVA on release profile was more pronounced, which reduced the cumulative percentage release of TM from 86.4±0.8% to 73.7±1.8% over 316 h. Moreover, cytotoxicity of the hydrogel was also investigated utilizing rabbit primary corneal epithelial culture cells. No significant cytotoxicity of hydrogel alone or in presence of additives was observed. So, polymeric additive strategy serves as a valuable tool for optimizing TM release kinetics from PEG–PCL–PEG hydrogel matrix.
PMCID: PMC3164763  PMID: 21892247
Hydrogel; Sol–gel transition; Drug release; Polymeric additive
13.  A Semi-Degradable Composite Scaffold for Articular Cartilage Defects 
Few options exist to replace or repair damaged articular cartilage. The optimal solution that has been suggested is a scaffold that can carry load and integrate with surrounding tissues; but such a construct has thus far been elusive. The objectives of this study were to manufacture and characterize a non-degradable hydrated scaffold. Our hypothesis was that the polymer content of the scaffold can be used to control its mechanical properties, while an internal porous network augmented with biological agents can facilitate integration with the host tissue. Using a two-step water-in-oil emulsion process a porous poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel scaffold combined with alginate microspheres was manufactured. The scaffold had a porosity of 11–30% with pore diameters of 107–187 μm, which readily allowed for movement of cells through the scaffold. Alginate microparticles were evenly distributed through the scaffold and allowed for the slow release of biological factors. The elastic modulus (Es) and Poisson’s ratio (υ), Aggregate modulus (Ha) and dynamic modulus (ED) of the scaffold were significantly affected by % PVA, as it varied from 10% to 20% wt/vol. Es and υ were similar to that of articular cartilage for both polymer concentrations, while Ha and ED were similar to that of cartilage only at 20% PVA. The ability to control scaffold mechanical properties, while facilitating cellular migration suggest that this scaffold is a potentially viable candidate for the functional replacement of cartilage defects.
PMCID: PMC3139701  PMID: 21308980
14.  Poly(Vinyl Alcohol)/Poly(Acrylic Acid) Hydrogel in a dc Electric Field: Swelling, Shape Change, and Actuation Characteristics 
Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)/Poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) hydrogel can be utilized as a biomimetic actuator and coating material for tissue-implant interface, when employing an electrical stimulus. The swelling, shape change, and actuation characteristics of PVA/PAA hydrogel in a range of dc electrical fields were determined to find the optimal electric field for the hydrogel application as biomimetic actuator and coating materials. The hydrogel samples were prepared by dissolving PVA and PAA in deionized water at 4 wt% and mixed together at 1:1 ratio. Two custom made experimental setups were fabricated; one used for the measurement of swelling ratio of the hydrogels; and the other used for the shape changes or actuation characteristics of the hydrogels. Swelling experiments show increased swelling ratios of the hydrogel due to 10 V, 20 V, and 30 V electric fields. The rate of increment of the swelling ratio of hydrogel samples under 10V was higher compare to those samples under 20 V and 30 V. The width and height changes of rectangular shapes and maximum deflection along the length of hydrogel sample due to a range of electric fields (0-30V) were measured using an optical microscope. Incremental shape change up to a specific threshold value (around 10V) was observed due to electric stimulus. Electrostatic actuation pressure of hydrogel samples under 10V was higher compare to those samples under 20 V and 30 V. These results suggested that optimal performance of PVA/PAA hydrogel can be achieved around 10V.
PMCID: PMC4251656  PMID: 25478321
Poly Vinyl Alcohol; Poly Acrylic Acid; Ionic Hydrogel; Swelling Effect; Shape Effect; Actuation
15.  In vitro drug release behavior from a novel thermosensitive composite hydrogel based on Pluronic f127 and poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol) copolymer 
BMC Biotechnology  2009;9:8.
Most conventional methods for delivering chemotherapeutic agents fail to achieve therapeutic concentrations of drugs, despite reaching toxic systemic levels. Novel controlled drug delivery systems are designed to deliver drugs at predetermined rates for predefined periods at the target organ and overcome the shortcomings of conventional drug formulations therefore could diminish the side effects and improve the life quality of the patients. Thus, a suitable controlled drug delivery system is extremely important for chemotherapy.
A novel biodegradable thermosensitive composite hydrogel, based on poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PCL-PEG, PECE) and Pluronic F127 copolymer, was successfully prepared in this work, which underwent thermosensitive sol-gel-sol transition. And it was flowing sol at ambient temperature but became non-flowing gel at body temperature. By varying the composition, sol-gel-sol transition and in vitro drug release behavior of the composite hydrogel could be adjusted. Cytotoxicity of the composite hydrogel was conducted by cell viability assay using human HEK293 cells. The 293 cell viability of composite hydrogel copolymers were yet higher than 71.4%, even when the input copolymers were 500 μg per well. Vitamin B12 (VB12), honokiol (HK), and bovine serum albumin (BSA) were used as model drugs to investigate the in vitro release behavior of hydrophilic small molecular drug, hydrophobic small molecular drug, and protein drug from the composite hydrogel respectively. All the above-mentioned drugs in this work could be released slowly from composite hydrogel in an extended period. Chemical composition of composite hydrogel, initial drug loading, and hydrogel concentration substantially affected the drug release behavior. The higher Pluronic F127 content, lower initial drug loading amount, or lower hydrogel concentration resulted in higher cumulative release rate.
The results showed that composite hydrogel prepared in this paper were biocompatible with low cell cytotoxicity, and the drugs in this work could be released slowly from composite hydrogel in an extended period, which suggested that the composite hydrogel might have great potential applications in biomedical fields.
PMCID: PMC2654890  PMID: 19210779
16.  Synthesis of chemically cross-linked polyvinyl alcohol-co-poly (methacrylic acid) hydrogels by copolymerization; a potential graft-polymeric carrier for oral delivery of 5-fluorouracil 
Background of the Study
The propose of the present work was to develop chemically cross-linked polyvinyl alcohol-co-poly(methacrylic acid) hydrogel (PVA-MAA hydrogel) for pH responsive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU).
PVA based hydrogels were prepared by free radical copolymerization. PVA has been cross-linked chemically with monomer (methacrylic acid) in aqueous medium, cross-linking agent was ethylene glycol di-methacrylate (EGDMA) and benzoyl peroxide was added as reaction initiator. 5-FU was loaded as model drug. FTIR, XRD, TGA and DSC were performed for characterization of copolymer. Surface morphology was studied by SEM. pH sensitive properties were evaluated by swelling dynamics and equilibrium swelling ratio at low and higher pH.
FTIR, XRD, TGA and DSC studies confirmed the formation of new copolymer. Formulations with higher MAA contents showed maximum swelling at 7.4 pH. High drug loading and higher drug release has been observed at pH 7.4.
The current study concludes that a stable copolymeric network of PVA was developed with MAA. The prepared hydrogels were highly pH responsive. This polymeric network could be a potential delivery system for colon targeting of 5-FU in colorectal cancers.
PMCID: PMC3704659  PMID: 23721569
Polyvinyl alcohol; Methacrylic acid; Hydrogel; 5-Fluorouracil; pH-responsive
17.  Crosslinking and degradation of step-growth hydrogels formed by thiol-ene photo-click chemistry 
Biomacromolecules  2012;13(7):2003-2012.
Thiol-ene photo-click hydrogels have been used for a variety of tissue engineering and controlled release applications. In this step-growth photopolymerization scheme, multi-arm poly(ethylene glycol) norbornene (PEG4NB) was crosslinked with di-thiol containing crosslinkers to form chemically crosslinked hydrogels. While the mechanism of thiol-ene gelation was well described in the literature, its network ideality and degradation behaviors are not well-characterized. Here, we compared the network crosslinking of thiol-ene hydrogels to Michael-type addition hydrogels and found thiol-ene hydrogels formed with faster gel points and higher degree of crosslinking. However, thiol-ene hydrogels still contained significant network non-ideality, demonstrated by a high dependency of hydrogel swelling on macromer contents. In addition, the presence of ester bonds within the PEG-norbornene macromer rendered thiol-ene hydrogels hydrolytically degradable. Through validating model predictions with experimental results, we found that the hydrolytic degradation of thiol-ene hydrogels was not only governed by ester bond hydrolysis, but also affected by the degree of network crosslinking. In an attempt to manipulate network crosslinking and degradation of thiol-ene hydrogels, we incorporated peptide crosslinkers with different sequences and characterized the hydrolytic degradation of these PEG-peptide hydrogels. In addition, we incorporated a chymotrypsin-sensitive peptide as part of the crosslinkers to tune the mode of gel degradation from bulk degradation to surface erosion.
PMCID: PMC4016800  PMID: 22708824
Thiol-ene chemistry; hydrogel; photopolymerization; degradation
18.  Cellulose Nanocrystals/ZnO as a Bifunctional Reinforcing Nanocomposite for Poly(vinyl alcohol)/Chitosan Blend Films: Fabrication, Characterization and Properties 
In this study, cellulose nanocrystals/zinc oxide (CNCs/ZnO) nanocomposites were dispersed as bifunctional nano-sized fillers into poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and chitosan (Cs) blend by a solvent casting method to prepare PVA/Cs/CNCs/ZnO bio-nanocomposites films. The morphology, thermal, mechanical and UV-vis absorption properties, as well antimicrobial effects of the bio-nanocomposite films were investigated. It demonstrated that CNCs/ZnO were compatible with PVA/Cs and dispersed homogeneously in the polymer blend matrix. CNCs/ZnO improved tensile strength and modulus of PVA/Cs significantly. Tensile strength and modulus of bio-nanocomposite films increased from 55.0 to 153.2 MPa and from 395 to 932 MPa, respectively with increasing nano-sized filler amount from 0 to 5.0 wt %. The thermal stability of PVA/Cs was also enhanced at 1.0 wt % CNCs/ZnO loading. UV light can be efficiently absorbed by incorporating ZnO nanoparticles into a PVA/Cs matrix, signifying that these bio-nanocomposite films show good UV-shielding effects. Moreover, the biocomposites films showed antibacterial activity toward the bacterial species Salmonella choleraesuis and Staphylococcus aureus. The improved physical properties obtained by incorporating CNCs/ZnO can be useful in variety uses.
PMCID: PMC4100197  PMID: 24945313
biocomposites; cellulose nanocrystals; bi-functional filler; poly(vinyl alcohol)/chitosan blend; UV absorption
19.  Optimal Poly(l-lysine) Grafting Density in Hydrogels for Promoting Neural Progenitor Cell Functions 
Biomacromolecules  2012;13(5):1663-1674.
Recently we have developed a photo-polymerizable poly(l-lysine) (PLL) that can be covalently incorporated into poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels to improve their bioactivity by providing positive charges. To explore the potential of these PLL-grafted PEGDA hydrogels as a cell delivery vehicle and luminal filler in nerve guidance conduits for peripheral and central nerve regeneration, we varied the amount of pendent PLL chains in the hydrogels by photo-crosslinking PEGDA with weight compositions of PLL (ϕPLL) of 0, 1%, 2%, 3%, and 5%. We further investigated the effect of PLL grafting density on E14 mouse neural progenitor cell (NPC) behavior including cell viability, attachment, proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression. The amount of actually grafted PLL and charge densities were characterized, showing a proportional increase with the feed composition ϕPLL. NPC viability in 3D hydrogels was significantly improved in a PLL grafting density-dependent manner at days 7 and 14 post-encapsulation. Similarly, NPC attachment and proliferation were promoted on the PLL-grafted hydrogels with increasing ϕPLL up to 2%. More intriguingly, NPC lineage commitment was dramatically altered by the amount of grafted PLL chains in the hydrogels. NPC differentiation demonstrated a parabolic or non-monotonic dependence on ϕPLL, resulting in cells mostly differentiated toward mature neurons with extensive neurite formation and astrocytes rather than oligodendrocytes on the PLL-grafted hydrogels with ϕPLL of 2%, whereas the neutral hydrogels and PLL-grafted hydrogels with higher ϕPLL of 5% support NPC differentiation less. Gene expression of lineage markers further illustrated this trend, indicating that PLL-grafted hydrogels with an optimal ϕPLL of 2% could be a promising cell carrier that promoted NPC functions for treatment of nerve injuries.
PMCID: PMC3547621  PMID: 22533450
Hydrogels; Poly(l-lysine) (PLL); Poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA); Neural progenitor cells; Grafting density
20.  Development and in vivo evaluation of silver sulfadiazine loaded hydrogel consisting polyvinyl alcohol and chitosan for severe burns 
Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences  2012;4(Suppl 1):S54-S56.
A new Hydrogel containing silver Sulfadiazine (SSD) was developed for enhanced burns wound healing. The hydrogel was prepared by cross-linking of PVA and Chitosan by freeze thawing method. Their gel properties, moisture retaining capacity, fluid uptake capacity, in vitro release study, in vivo burn healing effect were evaluated. Chitosan and PVA cross linking decreased gel fraction upto 70% determined the good gel properties. This cross linked hydrogel increased the Swelling ratio and Water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) which provides the sustained release of drug and moist environment for healing respectively. The hydrogel containing 7.5% of PVA, 0.75% of chitosan found to have increased gel strength, higher water vapour transmission rate and fluid uptake capacity suitable for faster healing of burns. This hydrogel also sustained the release of 1% SSD required for longer antimicrobial activity and found better in vivo burn healing capacity as compared to marketed preparation. Thus hydrogel containing 7.5% of PVA, 0.75% of chitosan and 1% SSD is a potential burns dressing with better gel properties and excellent burns healing capacity.
PMCID: PMC3467852  PMID: 23066206
Silver sulfadiazine; hydrogel; freeze thaw method
21.  Plasma functionalization of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel for cell adhesion enhancement 
Biomatter  2013;3(4):e25414.
Tailoring the interface interactions between a biomaterial and the surrounding tissue is a capital aspect to consider for the design of medical devices. Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogels present suitable mechanical properties for various biological substitutes, however the lack of cell adhesion on their surface is often a problem. The common approach is to incorporate biomolecules, either by blending or coupling. But these modifications disrupt PVA intra- and intermolecular interactions leading therefore to a loss of its original mechanical properties. In this work, surface modification by glow discharge plasma, technique known to modify only the surface without altering the bulk properties, has been investigated to promote cell attachment on PVA substrates. N2/H2 microwave plasma treatment has been performed, and the chemical composition of PVA surface has been investigated. X-ray photoelectron and Fourier transform infrared analyses on the plasma-treated films revealed the presence of carbonyl and nitrogen species, including amine and amide groups, while the main structure of PVA was unchanged. Plasma modification induced an increase in the PVA surface wettability with no significant change in surface roughness. In contrast to untreated PVA, plasma-modified films allowed successful culture of mouse fibroblasts and human endothelial cells. These results evidenced that the grafting was stable after rehydration and that it displayed cell adhesive properties. Thus plasma amination of PVA is a promising approach to improve cell behavior on contact with synthetic hydrogels for tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3825233  PMID: 23989063
hydrogel; poly(vinyl alcohol); surface analysis; nitrogen plasma; amine grafting
22.  Preparation and properties of poly(vinyl alcohol)/chitosan blend bionanocomposites reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals/ZnO-Ag multifunctional nanosized filler 
A series of novel bionanocomposites were cast using different contents of zinc oxide-silver nanoparticles (ZnO-AgNPs) stabilized by cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) as multifunctional nanosized fillers in poly(vinyl alcohol)/chitosan (PVA/Cs) matrices. The morphological structure, mechanical properties, ultraviolet-visible absorption, and antimicrobial properties of the prepared films were investigated as a function of their CNC/ZnO-AgNP content and compared with PVA/chitosan/CNC bionanocomposite films. X-ray diffraction and field emission scanning electron microscopic analyses showed that the CNC/ZnO-AgNPs were homogeneously dispersed in the PVA/Cs matrix and the crystallinity increased with increasing nanosized filler content. Compared with pure PVA/Cs, the tensile strength and modulus in the films increased from 0.055 to 0.205 GPa and from 0.395 to 1.20 GPa, respectively. Ultraviolet and visible light can be efficiently absorbed by incorporating ZnO-AgNPs into a PVA/Cs matrix, suggesting that these bionanocomposite films show good visibility and ultraviolet-shielding effects. The bionanocomposite films had excellent antimicrobial properties, killing both Gram-negative Salmonella choleraesuis and Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus. The enhanced physical properties achieved by incorporating CNC/ZnO-AgNPs could be beneficial in various applications.
PMCID: PMC4003268  PMID: 24790433
multifunctional nanofiller; bionanocomposite; cellulose nanocrystals; antimicrobial properties; poly(vinyl alcohol)/chitosan blend
23.  The Polyvinyl Alcohol Sponge Model Implantation 
Wound healing is a complicated, multistep process involving many cell types, growth factors and compounds1-3. Because of this complexity, wound healing studies are most comprehensive when carried out in vivo. There are many in vivo models available to study acute wound healing, including incisional, excisional, dead space, and burns. Dead space models are artificial, porous implants which are used to study tissue formation and the effects of substances on the wound. Some of the commonly used dead space models include polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) sponges, steel wire mesh cylinders, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) material, and the Cellstick1,2.
Each dead space model has its own limitations based on its material's composition and implantation methods. The steel wire mesh cylinder model has a lag phase of infiltration after implantation and requires a long amount of time before granulation tissue formation begins1. Later stages of wound healing are best analyzed using the ePTFE model1,4. The Cellstick is a cellulose sponge inside a silicon tube model which is typically used for studying human surgery wounds and wound fluid2. The PVA sponge is limited to acute studies because with time it begins to provoke a foreign body response which causes a giant cell reaction in the animal5. Unlike other materials, PVA sponges are easy to insert and remove, made of inert and non-biodegradable materials and yet are soft enough to be sectioned for histological analysis2,5.
In wound healing the PVA sponge is very useful for analyzing granulation tissue formation, collagen deposition, wound fluid composition, and the effects of substances on the healing process1,2,5. In addition to its use in studying a wide array of attributes of wound healing, the PVA sponge has also been used in many other types of studies. It has been utilized to investigate tumor angiogenesis, drug delivery and stem cell survival and engraftment1,2,6,7. With its great alterability, prior extensive use, and reproducible results, the PVA sponge is an ideal model for many studies1,2.
Here, we will describe the preparation, implantation and retrieval of PVA sponge disks (Figure 1) in a mouse model of wound healing.
PMCID: PMC3466653  PMID: 22546933
Medicine;  Issue 62;  Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) sponge;  engraftment;  stem cells;  granulation tissue;  vascularization;  tumorgenesis;  drug delivery;  wound model;  physiology
Biomaterials  2010;32(4):1204-1217.
Doxycycline hydrogels containing reversible disulfide crosslinks were investigated for a dermal wound healing application. Nitrogen mustard (NM) was used as a surrogate to mimic the vesicant effects of the chemical warfare agent sulfur mustard. An 8-arm-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) polymer containing multiple thiol (-SH) groups was crosslinked using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 hydrogel) or 8-arm-S-thiopyridyl (S-TP hydrogel) to form a hydrogel in situ. Formulation additives (glycerin, PVP and PEG 600) were found to promote dermal hydrogel retention for up to 24 h. Hydrogels demonstrated high mechanical strength and a low degree of swelling (<1.5%). Doxycycline release from the hydrogels was biphasic and sustained for up to 10-days in vitro. Doxycycline (8.5 mg/cm3) permeability through NM-exposed skin was elevated as compared to non vesicant-treated controls at 24, 72 and 168 h post exposure with peak permeability at 72 h. The decrease in doxycycline permeability at 168 h correlates to epidermal reepithelialization and wound healing. Histology studies of skin showed that doxycycline-loaded (0.25% w/v) hydrogels provided improved wound healing response on NM-exposed skin as compared to untreated skin and skin treated with placebo hydrogels in a SKH-1 mouse model. In conclusion, PEG-based doxycycline hydrogels are promising for dermal wound healing application of mustard injuries.
PMCID: PMC2995374  PMID: 20950853
25.  Composite poly(vinyl alcohol)/poly(vinyl acetate) electrospun nanofibrous mats as a novel wound dressing matrix for controlled release of drugs 
The aim of this study was to develop novel biomedicated nanofiber electrospun mats for controlled drug release, especially drug release directly to an injury site to accelerate wound healing. Nanofibers of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAc), and a 50:50 composite blend, loaded with ciprofloxacin HCl (CipHCl), were successfully prepared by an electrospinning technique for the first time. The morphology and average diameter of the electrospun nanofibers were investigated by scanning electron microscopy. X-ray diffraction studies indicated an amorphous distribution of the drug inside the nanofiber blend. Introducing the drug into polymeric solutions significantly decreased solution viscosities as well as nanofiber diameter. In vitro drug release evaluations showed that both the kind of polymer and the amount of drug loaded greatly affected the degree of swelling, weight loss, and initial burst and rate of drug release. Blending PVA and PVAc exhibited a useful and convenient method for electrospinning in order to control the rate and period of drug release in wound healing applications. Also, the thickness of the blend nanofiber mats strongly influenced the initial release and rate of drug release.
PMCID: PMC3124403  PMID: 21720511
biodegradable polymers; drug delivery; controlled release; electrospun nanofibers; wound dressing

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