Abstract: Heparin and four-armed, end-functionalized polyethylene glycol (starPEG) were recently combined in sets of covalently linked biohybrid hydrogel networks capable of directing various therapeutically relevant cell types. To extend the variability and applicability of this novel biomaterials platform, the influence of size and molar ratio of the two building blocks on the hydrogel properties was investigated in the present study. Heparin and starPEG were converted in various molar ratios and in different molecular weights to tune swelling, stiffness and pore size of the obtained polymer networks. Hydrogels with a range of elastic moduli could be generated by controlling either the crosslinking density or the chain length of the starPEG, whereas altering the molecular mass of heparin did not significantly affect hydrogel strength. The concentration of heparin in the swollen gels was found to be nearly invariant at varying crosslinking degrees for any given set of building blocks but adjustable by the size of the building blocks. Since heparin is the base for all biofunctionalization schemes of the gels these findings lay the ground for an even more versatile customization of this powerful new class of biomaterials.
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Welzel, P.B.; Prokoph, S.; Zieris, A.; Grimmer, M.; Zschoche, S.; Freudenberg, U.; Werner, C. Modulating Biofunctional starPEG Heparin Hydrogels by Varying Size and Ratio of the Constituents. Polymers 2011, 3, 602-620.
Welzel PB, Prokoph S, Zieris A, Grimmer M, Zschoche S, Freudenberg U, Werner C. Modulating Biofunctional starPEG Heparin Hydrogels by Varying Size and Ratio of the Constituents. Polymers. 2011; 3(1):602-620.
Welzel, Petra Birgit; Prokoph, Silvana; Zieris, Andrea; Grimmer, Milauscha; Zschoche, Stefan; Freudenberg, Uwe; Werner, Carsten. 2011. "Modulating Biofunctional starPEG Heparin Hydrogels by Varying Size and Ratio of the Constituents." Polymers 3, no. 1: 602-620.