Novel hydrogel membrane based on copoly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate/p-vinylbenzyl-poly(ethylene oxide)) for biomedical applications: properties and drug release characteristics

Macromol Biosci. 2005 Oct 20;5(10):983-92. doi: 10.1002/mabi.200500091.


The aim of this study was to synthesize and characterize a novel biocompatible polymeric membrane system and demonstrate its potential use in various biomedical applications. Synthetic hydrogels based on poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate), poly(HEMA), have been widely studied and used in biomedical fields. A novel copolymer hydrogel was prepared in the membrane form using 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate monomer (HEMA) and a macromonomer p-vinylbenzyl-poly(ethylene oxide) (V-PEO) via photoinitiated polymerization. A series of poly(HEMA/V-PEO) copolymer membranes with different compositions was prepared. The membranes were characterized using infrared, thermal and SEM analysis. The thermal stabilities of the copolymer membranes were found to be lowered by an increase in the ratio of macromonomer (V-PEO) in the membrane structure. Because of the incorporation of PEO segments, the copolymers exhibited significantly higher hydrophilic surface properties than pure poly(HEMA), as demonstrated by contact angle measurements. Equilibrium swelling studies were conducted to investigate the swelling behavior of the membranes. The equilibrium water uptake was reached in about 4 h. Moreover, the blood protein adsorption and platelet adhesion were significantly reduced on the surface of the PEO containing copolymer membranes compared to control pure poly(HEMA). Drug release experiments were performed in a continuous release system using model drug (vancomycin) loaded copoly(HEMA/V-PEO) membranes. A specific poly(HEMA/V-PEO) membrane formulation possessing the highest PEO content (with a HEMA:V-PEO (mmol:mmol) feed ratio of 112:1 and loaded with 40 mg antibiotic/g polymer) released about 81% of the total loaded drug in 24 h at pH 7.4. This membrane composition provided the best results and can be considered as a potential candidate for a transdermal antibiotic carrier and various biomedical and biotechnological applications.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Ethylene Oxide / chemistry*
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / chemistry*
  • Membranes / chemistry
  • Methacrylates / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Polymers / radiation effects
  • Surface Properties
  • Vancomycin / pharmacokinetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Carriers
  • Methacrylates
  • Polymers
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • hydroxyethyl methacrylate
  • Vancomycin
  • Ethylene Oxide