Effect of hyaluronic acid incorporation method on the stability and biological properties of polyurethane-hyaluronic acid biomaterials

J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2014 Feb;25(2):487-98. doi: 10.1007/s10856-013-5092-1. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


The high failure rate of small diameter vascular grafts continues to drive the development of new materials and modification strategies that address this clinical problem, with biomolecule incorporation typically achieved via surface-based modification of various biomaterials. In this work, we examined whether the method of biomolecule incorporation (i.e., bulk versus surface modification) into a polyurethane (PU) polymer impacted biomaterial performance in the context of vascular applications. Specifically, hyaluronic acid (HA) was incorporated into a poly(ether urethane) via bulk copolymerization or covalent surface tethering, and the resulting PU-HA materials characterized with respect to both physical and biological properties. Modification of PU with HA by either surface or bulk methods yielded materials that, when tested under static conditions, possessed no significant differences in their ability to resist protein adsorption, platelet adhesion, and bacterial adhesion, while supporting endothelial cell culture. However, only bulk-modified PU-HA materials were able to fully retain these characteristics following material exposure to flow, demonstrating a superior ability to retain the incorporated HA and minimize enzymatic degradation, protein adsorption, platelet adhesion, and bacterial adhesion. Thus, despite bulk methods rarely being implemented in the context of biomolecule attachment, these results demonstrate improved performance of PU-HA upon bulk, rather than surface, incorporation of HA. Although explored only in the context of PU-HA, the findings revealed by these experiments have broader implications for the design and evaluation of vascular graft modification strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry*
  • Polyurethanes / chemistry*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Surface Properties


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polyurethanes
  • Proteins
  • Hyaluronic Acid