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Issue 12, 2012
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Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels: from a natural polysaccharide to complex networks

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Abstract

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of nature's most versatile and fascinating macromolecules. Being an essential component of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM), HA plays an important role in a variety of biological processes. Inherently biocompatible, biodegradable and non-immunogenic, HA is an attractive starting material for the construction of hydrogels with desired morphology, stiffness and bioactivity. While the interconnected network extends to the macroscopic level in HA bulk gels, HA hydrogel particles (HGPs, microgels or nanogels) confine the network to microscopic dimensions. Taking advantage of various scaffold fabrication techniques, HA hydrogels with complex architecture, unique anisotropy, tunable viscoelasticity and desired biologic outcomes have been synthesized and characterized. Physical entrapment and covalent integration of hydrogel particles in a secondary HA network give rise to hybrid networks that are hierarchically structured and mechanically robust, and capable of mediating cellular activities through the spatial and temporal presentation of biological cues. This review highlights recent efforts in converting a naturally occurring polysaccharide to drug releasing hydrogel particles, and finally, complex and instructive macroscopic networks. HA-based hydrogels are promising materials for tissue repair and regeneration.

Graphical abstract: Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels: from a natural polysaccharide to complex networks

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Jul 2011, accepted on 09 Dec 2011 and first published on 20 Jan 2012


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM06463D
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 3280-3294
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    Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels: from a natural polysaccharide to complex networks

    X. Xu, A. K. Jha, D. A. Harrington, M. C. Farach-Carson and X. Jia, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 3280
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM06463D

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