[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study compared the effects of implanting two interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) into rabbit corneas. The first (Implant 1) was based on PEG-diacrylate, the second (Implant 2) was based on PEG-diacrylamide. There were inserted into deep stromal pockets created using a manual surgical technique for either 3 or 6 months. The implanted corneas were compared with normal and sham-operated corneas through slit lamp observation, anterior segment optical coherence tomography, in vivo confocal scanning and histological examination. Corneas with Implant 1 (based on PEG-diacrylate) developed diffuse haze, ulcers and opacities within 3 months, while corneas with Implant 2 (based on PEG-diacrylamide) remained clear at 6 months. They also exhibited normal numbers of epithelial cell layers, without any immune cell infiltration, inflammation, oedema or neovascularisation at post-operative 6 month. Morphological studies showed transient epithelial layer thinning over the hydrogel inserted area and elevated keratocyte activity at 3 months; however, the epithelium thickness and keratocyte morphology were improved at 6 months. Implant 2 exhibited superior in vivo biocompatibility and higher optical clarity than Implant 1. PEG-diacrylamide-based IPN hydrogel is therefore a potential candidate for corneal inlays to correct refractive error.
Journal of Materials Science Materials in Medicine 01/2013; · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hydrogels with high modulus and fracture strength are obtained by interpenetrating a tightly cross-linked poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) network with a loosely cross-linked poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) network. Small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS) are used in conjunction with swelling measurements to determine the structure of PEG/PAA interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) and to measure the average PEG chain extension within the IPN. At pH 7.4, the PEG chains within the IPN are extended to 45–70% of their maximum achievable length as a result of expansion of the ionized PAA network within the IPN. Near these high extension ratios, the force required to further strain the PEG chains is increased due to the entropic effects of finite chain extensibility. This leads to PEG/PAA IPN hydrogels with a 3-fold increase in both compressive modulus and fracture strength compared to PEG single networks with the same polymer volume fraction. The structure, mechanical properties, and mechanisms of strength enhancement for PEG/PAA IPN hydrogels are notably different than for the high toughness double-network hydrogels previously described by Gong et al.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to the biocompatibility of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), PEG-based hydrogels have attracted considerable interest for use as biomaterials in tissue engineering applications. In this work, we show that PEG-based hydrogels prepared by photopolymerization of PEG macromonomers functionalized with either acrylate or acrylamide end-groups generate networks with crosslink junctions of high functionality. Although the crosslink functionality is not well controlled, the resultant networks are sufficiently well ordered to generate a distinct correlation peak in the small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) related to the distance between crosslink junctions within the PEG network. The crosslink spacing is a useful probe of the PEG chain conformation within the hydrogel and ranges from approximately 6 to 16 nm, dependent upon both the volume fraction of polymer and the molecular weight of the PEG macromonomers. The presence of a peak in the scattering of photopolymerized PEG networks is also correlated with an enhanced compressive modulus in comparison to PEG networks reported in the literature with much lower crosslink functionality that exhibit no scattering peak. This comparison demonstrates that the method used to link together PEG macromonomers has a critical impact on both the nanoscale structure and the macroscopic properties of the resultant hydrogel network.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diffusion coefficients of small oligosaccharides within high strength poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(acrylic acid) interpenetrating network (PEG/PAA IPN) hydrogels were measured by diffusion through hydrogel slabs. The ability of hindered diffusion models previously presented in the literature to fit the experimental data is examined. A model based solely on effects due to hydrodynamics is compared to a model based solely on solute obstruction. To examine the effect of polymer volume fraction on the observed diffusion coefficients, the equilibrium volume fraction of polymer in PEG/PAA IPNs was systematically varied by changing the initial PEG polymer concentration in hydrogel precursor solutions from 20 to 50 wt./wt.%. To examine the effect of solute radius on the observed diffusion coefficients, solute radii were varied from 3.3 to 5.1 Å by measuring diffusion coefficients of glucose, a monosaccharide; maltose, a disaccharide; and maltotriose, a trisaccharide. Both the hydrodynamic and obstruction models rely on scaling relationships to predict diffusion coefficients. The proper scaling relationship for each of the hindered diffusion models is evaluated based on fits to experimental data. The scaling relationship employed is found to have a greater significance for the hydrodynamic model than the obstruction model. Regardless of the scaling relationship employed, the obstruction model provides a better fit to our experimental data than the hydrodynamic model.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) have been the subject of extensive study since their advent in the 1960s. Hydrogel IPN systems have garnered significant attention in the last two decades due to their usefulness in biomedical applications. Of particular interest are the mechanical enhancements observed in "double network" IPN systems which exhibit nonlinear increases in fracture properties despite being composed of otherwise weak polymers. We have built upon pioneering work in this field as well as in responsive IPN systems to develop an IPN system based on end-linked poly-(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and loosely crosslinked poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) with hydrogen bond-reinforced strain-hardening behavior in water and high initial Young's moduli under physiologic buffer conditions through osmotically induced pre-stress. Uniaxial tensile tests and equilibrium swelling measurements were used to study PEG/PAA IPN hydrogels having second networks prepared with varying crosslinking and photoinitiator content, pH, solids content, and comonomers. Studies involving the addition of non-ionic comonomers and neutralization of the second network showed that template polymerization appears to be important in the formation of mechanically enhanced IPNs.
Polymers for Advanced Technologies 04/2008; 19(6):647-657. · 1.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelialization of a keratoprosthesis requires that the implant material be sufficiently permeable to glucose. We have developed a poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(acrylic acid) (PEG/PAA) interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogel that can provide adequate passage of glucose from the aqueous humor to the epithelium in vivo. A series of PEG/PAA IPNs with varying PEG macromonomer molecular weights were synthesized and evaluated through swelling studies to determine their water content and diffusion experiments to assess their permeability to glucose. One of the PEG/PAA hydrogels prepared in this study had a glucose diffusion coefficient nearly identical to that of the human cornea (approximately 2.5 x 10(-6) cm(2)/sec). When implanted intrastromally in rabbit corneas, this hydrogel was retained and well-tolerated in 9 out of 10 cases for a period of 14 days. The retained hydrogels stayed optically clear and the epithelium remained intact and multilayered, indicating that the material facilitated glucose transport from the aqueous humor to the anterior part of the eye. The results from these experiments indicate that PEG/PAA hydrogels are promising candidates for corneal implant applications such as keratoprostheses and intracorneal lenses, and that the PEG/PAA IPN system in general is useful for creating permeable substrates for ophthalmic and other biomedical applications.
Current Eye Research 02/2008; 33(1):29-43. · 1.71 Impact Factor