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Dynamic Covalent CC Bond, Cross-Linked, Injectable, and Self-Healable Hydrogels via Knoevenagel Condensation

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journal contribution
posted on 25.02.2020, 15:46 by Caicai Jiao, Lilong Gao, Hui Zhang, Bing Yu, Hailin Cong, Youqing Shen
Hydrogels have a wide range of applications in the fields of biomedicine, flexible electronics, and bionics. In this study, injectable and self-healable hydrogels were first prepared based on a dynamic covalent CC bond formed via the Knoevenagel condensation reaction between poly­(ethylene glycol) dicyanoacetate and water-soluble poly­(vanillin acrylate). Three kinds of catalysts (phosphate buffer, zeolitic imidazolate framework-8, and tertiary amine) were used in Knoevenagel condensation for preparing hydrogels. All hydrogels in this study could be formed in situ, and their gelation time ranged from seconds to minutes. The properties and application of hydrogels could be customized according to the type of catalyst employed. 3-[4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) results indicated that all the components and hydrogels exhibited low toxicity, and the hydrogels could be used as 3D cell culture scaffolds. Because of the dynamic covalent CC bond formed by Knoevenagel condensation, the resultant hydrogels were found to be dynamic and showed good self-healing properties. This work presents a new dynamic covalent chemistry for the preparation of self-healable materials.