Biomacromolecules, Vol.19, No.8, 3536-3548, 2018
Bioinspired pH- and Temperature-Responsive Injectable Adhesive Hydrogels with Polyplexes Promotes Skin Wound Healing
Despite great potential, the delivery of genetic materials into cells or tissues of interest remains challenging owing to their susceptibility to nuclease degradation, lack of permeability to the cell membrane, and short in vivo half-life, which severely restrict their widespread use in therapeutics. To surmount these shortcomings, we developed a bioinspired in situ-forming pH- and temperature-sensitive injectable hydrogel depot that could control the delivery of DNA-bearing polyplexes for versatile biomedical applications. A series of multiblock copolymer, comprised of water-soluble poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and pH- and temperature responsive poly(sulfamethazine ester urethane) (PSMEU), has been synthesized as in situ-forming injectable hydrogelators. The free-flowing PEG PSMEU copolymer sols at high pH and room temperature (pH 8.5, 23 degrees C) were transformed to stable gel at the body condition (pH 7.4, 37 degrees C). Physical and mechanical properties of hydrogels, including their degradation rate and viscosity, are elegantly controlled by varying the composition of urethane ester units. Subcutaneous administration of free-flowing PEG PSMEU copolymer sols to the dorsal region of Sprague Dawley rats instantly formed hydrogel depot. The degradation of the hydrogel depot was slow at the beginning and found to be bioresorbable after two months. Cationic protein or DNA-bearing polyplex-loaded PEG-PSMEU copolymer sols formed stable gel and controlled its release over 10 days in vivo. Owing to the presence of urethane linkages, the PEG PSMEU possesses excellent adhesion strength to wide range of surfaces including glass, plastic, and fresh organs. More importantly, the hydrogels effectively adhered on human skin and peeled easily without eliciting an inflammatory response. Subcutaneous implantation of PEG PSMEU copolymer sols effectively sealed the ruptured skin, which accelerated the wound healing process as observed by the skin appendage morphogenesis. The bioinspired in situ-forming pH- and temperature-sensitive injectable adhesive hydrogel may provide a promising platform for myriad biomedical applications as controlled delivery vehicle, adhesive, and tissue regeneration.