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Mild and Efficient Strategy for Site-Selective Aldehyde Modification of Glycosaminoglycans: Tailoring Hydrogels with Tunable Release of Growth Factor

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journal contribution
posted on 08.07.2013 by Shujiang Wang, Oommen P. Oommen, Hongji Yan, Oommen P. Varghese
Aldehydes have been used as an important bioorthogonal chemical reporter for conjugation of large polymers and bioactive substances. However, generating aldehyde functionality on carbohydrate-based biopolymers without changing its native chemical structure has always persisted as a challenging task. The common methods employed to achieve this require harsh reaction conditions, which often compromise the structural integrity and biological function of these sensitive molecules. Here we report a mild and simple method to graft aldehydes groups on glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in a site-selective manner without compromising the structural integrity of the biopolymer. This regio-selective modification was achieved by conjugating the amino-glycerol moiety on the carboxylate residue of the polymer, which allowed selective cleavage of pendent diol groups without interfering with the C2–C3 diol groups of the native glucopyranose residue. Kinetic evaluation of this reaction demonstrated significant differences in second-order reaction rate for periodate oxidation (by four-orders of magnitude) between the two types of vicinal diols. We employed this chemistry to develop aldehyde modifications of sulfated and nonsulfated GAGs such as hyaluronic acid (HA), heparin (HP), and chondroitin sulfate (CS). We further utilized these aldehyde grafted GAGs to tailor extracellular matrix mimetic injectable hydrogels and evaluated its rheological properties. The composition of the hydrogels was also found to modulate release of therapeutic protein such as FGF-2, demonstrating controlled release (60%) for over 14 days. In short, our result clearly demonstrates a versatile strategy to graft aldehyde groups on sensitive biopolymers under mild conditions that could be applied for various bioconjugation and biomedical applications such as drug delivery and regenerative medicine.