Advanced Functional Materials.
Volume 27, Issue 42, 10 November 2017, Article number 1703826
Supertough Hybrid Hydrogels Consisting of a Polymer Double-Network and Mesoporous Silica Microrods for Mechanically Stimulated On-Demand Drug Delivery
Suji Choi, Young jin Choi, Moon-Sun Jang, Jung Hee Lee, Ji Hoon Jeong and Jaeyun Kim
Despite their potential in various fields of bioapplications, such as drug/cell delivery, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine, hydrogels have often suffered from their weak mechanical properties, which are attributed to their single network of polymers. Here, supertough composite hydrogels are proposed consisting of alginate/polyacrylamide double-network hydrogels embedded with mesoporous silica particles (SBA-15). The supertoughness is derived from efficient energy dissipation through the multiple bondings, such as ionic crosslinking of alginate, covalent crosslinking of polyacrylamide, and van der Waals interactions and hydrogen bondings between SBA-15 and the polymers. The superior mechanical properties of these hybrid hydrogels make it possible to maintain the hydrogel structure for a long period of time in a physiological solution. Based on their high mechanical stability, these hybrid hydrogels are demonstrated to exhibit on-demand drug release, which is controlled by an external mechanical stimulation (both in vitro and in vivo). Moreover, different types of drugs can be separately loaded into the hydrogel network and mesopores of SBA-15 and can be released with different speeds, suggesting that these hydrogels can also be used for multiple drug release.