Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Fluorinated Methacrylamide Chitosan Hydrogel Systems as Adaptable Oxygen Carriers for Wound Healing

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Publication Date

Fall 2012


In this study a series of novel, biocompatible hydrogels able to repeatedly takeup and deliver oxygen at beneficial levels have been developed by conjugating various perfluorocarbon (PFC) chains to methacrylamide chitosan via Schiff base nucleophilic substitution, followed by photopolymerization to form hydrogels. The synthesized fluorinated methacrylamide chitosan (MACF) hydrogels were confirmed by high resolution 19F NMR. Synthesized MACF hydrogels were tested for their ability to takeup and then release oxygen for future use in dermal wound healing. Depending on the PFC substitution type maximum O2 uptake was observed within 2–6 h, followed by complete release to the surrounding environment (5% CO2) within 12–120 h at oxygen partial pressures of 1–25 mm Hg h−1, providing outstanding system tuning for wound healing and regenerative medicine. MACFs with the most fluorines per substitution showed the greatest uptake and release of oxygen. Interestingly, adding PFC chains with a fluorinated aromatic group considerably enhanced oxygen uptake and extended release compared with a linear PFC chain with the same number of fluorine molecules. MACF hydrogels proved to be readily reloaded with oxygen once release was complete, and regeneration could be performed as long as the hydrogel was intact. Fibroblasts were cultured on MACFs and assays confirmed that materials containing more fluorines per substitution supported the most cells with the greatest metabolic activity. This result was true, even without oxygenation, suggesting PFC-facilitated oxygen diffusion from the culture medium. Finally, MACF gradient hydrogels were created, demonstrating that these materials can control oxygen levels on a spatial scale of millimeters and greatly enhance cellular proliferative and metabolic responses.





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