Zwitterionic hydrogels implanted in mice resist the foreign-body reaction

Nat Biotechnol. 2013 Jun;31(6):553-6. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2580. Epub 2013 May 12.


The performance of implantable biomedical devices is impeded by the foreign-body reaction, which results in formation of a dense collagenous capsule that blocks mass transport and/or electric communication between the implant and the body. No known materials or coatings can completely prevent capsule formation. Here we demonstrate that ultra-low-fouling zwitterionic hydrogels can resist the formation of a capsule for at least 3 months after subcutaneous implantation in mice. Zwitterionic hydrogels also promote angiogenesis in surrounding tissue, perhaps owing to the presence of macrophages exhibiting phenotypes associated with anti-inflammatory, pro-healing functions. Thus, zwitterionic hydrogels may be useful in a broad range of applications, including generation of biocompatible implantable medical devices and tissue scaffolds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects
  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / immunology*
  • Hydrogels / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Prostheses and Implants / adverse effects*


  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hydrogels