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Synthesis and Evaluation of a Thermoresponsive Degradable Chitosan-Grafted PNIPAAm Hydrogel as a “Smart” Gene Delivery System

Sciprofile linkMonika Ziminska, Sciprofile linkJordan J. Wilson, Sciprofile linkEmma McErlean, Sciprofile linkNicholas Dunne, Sciprofile linkHelen O. McCarthy
Published: 2 June 2020
 by  MDPI
Materials , Volume 13; doi:10.3390/ma13112530

Abstract: Thermoresponsive hydrogels demonstrate tremendous potential as sustained drug delivery systems. However, progress has been limited as formulation of a stable biodegradable thermosensitive hydrogel remains a significant challenge. In this study, free radical polymerization was exploited to formulate a biodegradable thermosensitive hydrogel characterized by sustained drug release. Highly deacetylated chitosan and N-isopropylacrylamide with distinctive physical properties were employed to achieve a stable, hydrogel network at body temperature. The percentage of chitosan was altered within the copolymer formulations and the subsequent physical properties were characterized using 1H-NMR, FTIR, and TGA. Viscoelastic, swelling, and degradation properties were also interrogated. The thermoresponsive hydrogels were loaded with RALA/pEGFP-N1 nanoparticles and release was examined. There was sustained release of nanoparticles over three weeks and, more importantly, the nucleic acid cargo remained functional and this was confirmed by successful transfection of the NCTC-929 fibroblast cell line. This tailored thermoresponsive hydrogel offers an option for sustained delivery of macromolecules over a prolonged considerable period.
Keywords: Nanoparticles / hydrogel / drug delivery / hydroxyapatite / thermoresponsive

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