To enhance the mechanical strength of poly(ethylene glycol)(PEG) gels and to provide functional groups for surface modification, we prepared interpenetrating (IPN) hydrogels by incorporating poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)(PHEMA) inside PEG hydrogels. Formation of IPN hydrogels was confirmed by measuring the weight percent gain of the hydrogels after incorporation of PHEMA, as well as by ATR/FTIR analysis. Synthesis of IPN hydrogels with a high PHEMA content resulted in optically transparent and extensively crosslinked hydrogels with a lower water content and a 6 ∼ 8-fold improvement in mechanical properties than PEG hydrogels. Incorporation of less than 90 wt % PHEMA resulted in opaque hydrogels due to phase separation between water and PHEMA. To overcome the poor cell adhesion properties of the IPN hydrogels, collagen was covalently grafted to the surface of IPN hydrogels via carbamate linkages to hydroxyl groups in PHEMA. Resultant IPN hydrogels were proven to be noncytotoxic and cell adhesion study revealed that collagen immobilization resulted in a significant improvement of cell adhesion and spreading on the IPN hydrogel surfaces. The resultant IPN hydrogels were noncytotoxic, and a cell adhesion study revealed that collagen immobilization improved cell adhesion and spreading on the IPN hydrogel surfaces significantly. These results indicate that PEG/PHEMA IPN hydrogels are highly promising biomaterials that can be used in artificial corneas and a variety of other load-bearing tissue engineering applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry