Injectable Self-Healing Hydrogels Based on Boronate Ester Formation between Hyaluronic Acid Partners Modified with Benzoxaborin Derivatives and Saccharides

We demonstrate here, for the first time, formation of injectable dynamic covalent hydrogels at physiological pH using benzoxaborin-saccharide complexation as a reversible cross-linking method. The gels were prepared by simply mixing hyaluronic acid modified with an original boronic acid derivative, 3,4-dihydro-2H-benzo­[e]­[1,2]­oxaborinin-2-ol (1,2-ABORIN), and HA functionalized with 1-amino-1-deoxy-d-fructose. Dynamic rheological experiments confirmed the gel-like behavior (storage modulus (G′) > loss modulus (G″) in the frequency window explored) for the designed HA-1,2-ABORIN/HA-fructose network. Furthermore, this hydrogel exhibited excellent self-healing and injectability behaviors in aqueous conditions and was found to be responsive to pH. Additionally, fibroblast cells encapsulated in the HA network showed high viability (>80% after 7 days of cell culture), as monitored by Live/Dead staining. Taken together, this new class of boronate ester cross-linked hydrogel provides promising future for diverse biomedical applications.