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Heparin-based and heparin-inspired hydrogels: size-effect, gelation and biomedical applications


Heparin is the highest negatively charged polysaccharide belonging to the glycosaminoglycan family, and its roles as regulators of various proteins, cells and tissues in human body make heparin an indispensable macromolecule. Heparin-based hydrogels are widely investigated in the applications of implantation, tissue engineering, biosensor, as well as drug-controlled release, due to the 3D-constructs of hydrogels. However, heparin has supply and safety problems because it is usually derived from animal sources, and has the clinical limitations of bleeding and thrombocytopenia. Therefore, analogous heparin-mimicking polymers and hydrogels derived from non-animal and/or totally synthetic sources are widely studied in recent years. In this review, the progress and potential biomedical applications of heparin-based and heparin-inspired hydrogels are highlighted. We classify the forms of these hydrogels in sized hydrogels including macro hydrogels, injectable hydrogels, and nano hydrogels. Then, we summarize various fabrication strategies on these hydrogels including chemical covalent bonding, physical conjugation, and the combination of chemical and physical interactions. Covalent bonding includes free radical polymerization of vinyl contained components, amide bond formation reaction, Michael-type addition reaction, click-chemistry, divinyl sulfone crosslinking, mussel inspired coating, and so on. Hydrogels physically conjugated by host-guest interaction, electrostatic interaction, hydrogen bonding, and hydrophobic interaction are also discussed. Finally, we conclude with the challenges and future directions for the fabrication and the industrilization of heparin-based and heparin-inspired hydrogels. We believe that this review will evoke more attentions toward the design of heparin-based and heparin-inspired hydrogels, leading to explore future advancements of this emerging research field.

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Oct 2018, accepted on 04 Jan 2019 and first published on 05 Jan 2019

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8TB02671H
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. B, 2019, Accepted Manuscript
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    Heparin-based and heparin-inspired hydrogels: size-effect, gelation and biomedical applications

    C. He, H. Ji, Y. Qian, Q. Wang, X. Liu, W. Zhao and C. Zhao, J. Mater. Chem. B, 2019, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8TB02671H

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