In situ crosslinkable hyaluronan hydrogels for tissue engineering

Biomaterials. 2004 Mar-Apr;25(7-8):1339-48. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2003.08.014.


We describe the development of an injectable, cell-containing hydrogel that supports cell proliferation and growth to permit in vivo engineering of new tissues. Two thiolated hyaluronan (HA) derivatives were coupled to four alpha,beta-unsaturated ester and amide derivatives of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) 3400. The relative chemical reactivity with cysteine decreased in the order PEG-diacrylate (PEGDA)>>PEG-dimethacrylate>PEG-diacrylamide>PEG-dimethacrylamide. The 3-thiopropanoyl hydrazide derivative (HA-DTPH) was more reactive than the 4-thiobutanoyl hydrazide, HA-DTBH. The crosslinking of HA-DTPH with PEGDA in a molar ratio of 2:1 occurred in approximately 9 min, suitable for an in situ crosslinking applications. The in vitro cytocompatibility and in vivo biocompatibility were evaluated using T31 human tracheal scar fibroblasts, which were suspended in medium in HA-DTPH prior to addition of the PEGDA solution. The majority of cells survived crosslinking and the cell density increased tenfold during the 4-week culture period in vitro. Cell-loaded hydrogels were also implanted subcutaneously in the flanks of nude mice, and after immunohistochemistry showed that the encapsulated cells retained the fibroblast phenotype and secreted extracellular matrix in vivo. These results confirm the potential utility of the HA-DTPH-PEGDA hydrogel as an in situ crosslinkable, injectable material for tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemical synthesis*
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry*
  • Hydrogels / administration & dosage
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Hydrogels
  • Hyaluronic Acid