Gradually Self-Strengthen DNA Supramolecular Hydrogels

Macromol Rapid Commun. 2024 Apr 18:e2400177. doi: 10.1002/marc.202400177. Online ahead of print.


The dynamic mechanical strength of the extracellular matrix (ECM) has been demonstrated to play important role in determining the cell behavior. Growing evidences suggest that the gradual stiffening process of the matrix is particularly decisive during tissue development and wound healing. Herein, a novel strategy to prepare hydrogels with gradually enhanced mechanical strength is provided. Such hydrogels could maintain the dynamic properties at their initial states, such as self-healing and shear-thinning properties. With subsequent slow covalent crosslinking, the stability and mechanical properties would be gradually improved. This method is useful for sequence programmability and oxidation strategies, which has provided an alternated tool to study cell behavior during dynamic increase in mechanical strength of ECM.

Keywords: 3D cell culture; DNA hydrogel; disulfide bonds; enhanced mechanical strength.