A fast and simple method for the preparation of pH-sensitive hydrogel membranes for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications has been developed using carbodimide chemistry. The hydrogels were formed by the intermolecular cross-linking of carboxyrnethyl dextran (CM-dextran) using 1-ethyl-(3-3-dimethylamiminopropyl)carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinitnide (NHS). Infrared spectra of the hydrogels suggest the formation of ester bonds between the hydroxyl and carboxyl groups in the CM-dextran. The porosity of the hydrogels produced, as shown by protein diffusion, increases in response to changes in the pH and the ionic strength of the external medium. The results show pH-dependent swelling behaviour arising from the acidic pedant groups in the polymer network. The diffusion of the protein lysozyme through the hydrogel membranes increased with increases in both pH (5.0-9.0) and ionic strength. The effect of changes of pH and ionic strength on the hydrogel's permeability was shown to be reversible. Scanning electron microscopy of these hydrogels showed that pH-dependent changes in permeability are mirrored by morphological changes in gel structure.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|