Technological watch

Lightweight, robust, porous heterocyclic para?aramid aerogel hollow fibers for multifunctional applications

AbstractSodium alginate (SA) possesses good biocompatibility and can form hydrogel materials under certain conditions, which has been widely used in tissue engineering. However, the absence of cellular recognition sites and low mechanical strength for single?component alginate (ALG) hydrogels limit their practical applications. Therefore, enhancing the shortcomings of ALG hydrogels and augmenting their characteristics hold immense importance for their medical uses. In this study, comprehensively considering the excellent properties of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and sericin (SS), the alginate/sericin/cellulose nanocrystalline (ALG/SS/CNCS) composite hydrogels were constructed by interpenetrating network (IPN) technique using hydroxyapatite/D?glucono???lactone (HAP/GDL) as the endogenous ionic cross?linking agent of SA, 1?ethyl?(3?dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride/N?hydroxysuccinimide (EDC/NHS) as the chemical covalent cross?linking agent of SS and CNCS as the reinforcing agent. The effects of SS and CNCs additions on the comprehensive properties of ALG/SS/CNCs composite hydrogels, such as their morphologies, structure, mechanical properties, swelling, degradability, and cytocompatibility were investigated. The findings indicated that the ALG/SS/CNCS IPN composite hydrogels which were created through the physical blending of SA and SS, displayed a consistent three?dimensional form and a porous configuration. The weak mechanical strength of pure ALG hydrogels can be effectively improved and the swelling stability and mechanical properties of the composite hydrogels can be enhanced through the construction of IPN network and the incorporation of CNCs, thanks to the presence of intermolecular hydrogen bonding. The biodegradability of ALG/SS/CNCS composite hydrogels increased as the SS content increased, indicating that SS facilitated their biomineralization due to its inherent susceptibility to degradation. The results of the cell compatibility test conducted in a laboratory setting showed that SS and CNCS had the ability to enhance the attachment, proliferation, and differentiation of MC3T3?E1 cells on the ALG/SS/CNCS composite hydrogels. Hence, incorporating SS and CNCS into the alginate matrix to create IPN composite hydrogels could significantly enhance the physicochemical and biological characteristics of ALG hydrogels, thus rendering them appropriate for tissue engineering purposes.

Publication date: 16/12/2023

Journal of Applied Polymer Science


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.