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Open AccessArticle

Tuning the Hydrophobicity of a Hydrogel Using Self-Assembled Domains of Polymer Cross-Linkers

Department of Chemical Engineering, Soongsil University, 369, Sangdo-Ro, Dongjak-Gu, Seoul 06978, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1635;
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 19 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Growth and Design of Inorganic Crystal)
Hydrogels incorporated with hydrophobic motifs have received considerable attention to recapitulate the cellular microenvironments, specifically for the bio-mineralization of a 3D matrix. Introduction of hydrophobic molecules into a hydrogel often results in irregular arrangement of the motifs, and further phase separation of hydrophobic domains, but limited efforts have been made to resolve this challenge in developing the hydrophobically-modified hydrogel. Therefore, this study presents an advanced integrative strategy to incorporate hydrophobic domains regularly in a hydrogel using self-assembled domains formed with polymer cross-linkers, building blocks of a hydrogel. Self-assemblies formed by polymer cross-linkers were examined as micro-domains to incorporate hydrophobic motifs in a hydrogel. The self-assembled structures in a pre-gelled solution were confirmed with the fluorescence analysis and the hydrophobicity of a hydrogel could be tuned by incorporating the hydrophobic chains in a controlled manner. Overall, the results of this study would greatly serve to tuning performance of a wide array of hydrophobically-modified hydrogels in drug delivery, cell therapies and tissue engineering. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrogel; hydrophobicity; self-assembly; degree of swelling hydrogel; hydrophobicity; self-assembly; degree of swelling
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Kim, H.-J.; Cho, S.; Oh, S.J.; Shin, S.G.; Ryu, H.W.; Jeong, J.H. Tuning the Hydrophobicity of a Hydrogel Using Self-Assembled Domains of Polymer Cross-Linkers. Materials 2019, 12, 1635.

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