Hyaluronic acid (HA) grafted with Pluronic F127 copolymer was used as biomimetic hydrogels for cell delivery. The graft copolymer was synthesized by conjugating amine end-capped Pluronic F127 to carboxylic groups of HA using coupling agents. The synthesized HA-g-Pluronic exhibited thermo-sensitive sol-gel transition behaviors over the temperature range of 20-40°C. HA-g-Pluronic copolymers with vinyl groups were photo-crosslinked to prepare more robust hydrogels for cell cultivation. For improved cellular adhesion and proliferation, cell adhesive peptide (Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD)) was additionally conjugated to the HA backbone. The resultant thermo-sensitive, photocrosslinkable, and RGD modified HA-g-Pluronic copolymers were used to encapsulate and cultivate bovine chondrocytes in vitro. A tissue containing cartilage-like components such as GAG and type II collagen was successfully produced within the hydrogels, indicating that the synthesized HA-g-Pluronic copolymers can be potentially used as an injectable cell carrier.
- Hyaluronic acid