Simultaneously physically and chemically gelling polymer system utilizing a poly(NIPAAm-co-cysteamine)-based copolymer

Stephanie A. Robb, Bae Hoon Lee, Ryan McLemore, Brent Vernon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The objective of this work was to create an in situ physically and chemically cross-linking hydrogel for in vivo applications. N-Isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) was copolymerized with N-acryloxysuccinimide (NASI) via free radical polymerization. Poly(NIPAAm-co-NASI) was further modified to obtain poly(NIPAAm-co-cysteamine) through a nucleophilic attack on the carbonyl group of the NASI by the amine group of the cysteamine. Modification was verified by nuclear magnetic resonance. In addition to thermoresponsive physical gelling due to the presence of NIPAAm, this system also chemically gels via a Michael-type addition reaction when mixed with poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate. The presence of both physical and chemical gelation resulted in material properties that are much improved compared to purely physical gels. The chemical gelation time of the copolymers was not significantly affected by the amount of thiol present due to the increased pKa of the copolymer containing more thiols. In addition, the swelling of the copolymers was highly dependent on the temperature and thiol content. Last, the rate of nucleophilic attack in the Michael-type addition reaction was shown to be highly dependent on pH and on the mole ratio of thiol to acrylate. Due to the improved mechanical properties, this material may be better suited for long-term functional replacement applications than other thermosensitive physical gels. With further development and biocompatibility testing, this material could potentially be applied as a temperature-responsive injectable biomaterial for functional embolization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2294-2300
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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