Dual-component collagenous peptide/reactive oligomer hydrogels as potential nerve guidance materials - from characterization to functionalization

Biomater Sci. 2016 Oct 18;4(11):1605-1621. doi: 10.1039/c6bm00397d.


Toward a new generation of improved nerve guidance conduits (NGCs), novel biomaterials are required to address pressing clinical shortcomings in peripheral nerve regeneration (PNR) and to promote biological performance. A dual-component hydrogel system formed by cross-linking reaction between maleic anhydride groups in an oligomeric building block for cross-linking of free amine functionalities in partially hydrolyzed collagen is formulated for continuous processing and NGC fabrication. The influence of the gelation base is optimized for processing from a double syringe delivery system with a static mixer. A hydrophilic low-concentrated base was introduced to control network formation and to utilize highly reactive macromers for gelation. Cross-linking extent and building block conversion were improved and homogenous monoliths were fabricated. Chemically derivatized hydrogels were obtained by conversion of a fraction of anhydride groups in the oligomeric precursor with monovalent primary amine-containing grafting molecules prior to gelation. Network stability in functionalized hydrogels was maintained and cationic moieties were implement to the gel that promoted in vitro cell attachment and spreading irrespective of mechanical stiffness. A molding strategy was introduced that allowed for fabrication of flexible tubular conduits in tunable dimensions and with chemically patterned structures. These hydrogel-based conduits hold promise for the next generation NGCs with integrated chemical cues for PNR.

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology*
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Hydrogels / pharmacology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Tissue Scaffolds*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hydrogels
  • Peptides