Acta biomaterialia

Volume change of double cross-linked poly(aspartic acid) hydrogels induced by cleavage of one of the crosslinks.

PMID 22975627


In the present paper we report for the first time the development of redox-responsive biocompatible polymer gels. Double cross-linked poly(aspartic acid) hydrogels were prepared using two different cross-linking agents simultaneously. One of the cross-linkers was diaminobutane (DAB), the other cystamine (CYS). The relative amounts of DAB and CYS molecules were varied over a wide range while the total amount of cross-linker molecules (DAB+CYS) was kept constant. DAB provides stable cross-links, whereas CYS contains disulfide bonds, which can be broken by reduction. The cleavage of disulfide cross-links results in enhanced swelling and a significant decrease in the elastic modulus of the gels. These novel types of stimuli-responsive gels are promising candidates for new swelling controlled release matrices.