Elasticity Tunable Hybrid Hydrogels Using Light Irradiation

Yanagawa, Fumiki ;   Mizutani, Takeomi ;   Sugiura, Shinji ;   Takagi, Toshiyuki ;   Sumaru, Kimio ;   Kanamori, Toshiyuki

This paper reports a novel technique to synthesize elasticity tunable hybrid hydrogels with an activated-ester-type photocleavable crosslinker (NHS-PC-4armPEG) and non-photocleavable crosslinker (NHS-4armPEG). We demonstrated that synthesized hybrid hydrogels can control elasticity with microscale precision by micropatterned irradiation. The mechanical properties of the hydrogels are important for cell adhesion, migration, maintenance, and differentiation, which should be readily customized to match requirements for a particular application. A host of research groups have reported elasticity patterning of hydrogels for tissue engineering using biocompatible hydrogels such as polyethylene glycol. Recently, photodegradable hydrogels have attracted significant attention because of their tunable mechanical properties. We also reported an activated-ester-type photocleavable crosslinker NHS-PC-4armPEG for preparing photodegradable hydrogels, which react with a biocompatible polymer containing amino moieties such as an amino-terminated tetra-arm poly(ethylene glycol) (amino-4armPEG). In this work, we applied this photocleavable crosslinker to preparation of elasticity tunable hybrid hydrogels.