Controlling Fluid Diffusion and Release through Mixed Molecular Weight Poly(ethylene) Glycol Diacrylate (PEGDA) Hydrogels

Kieran O'Donnell, A Boyd, BJ Meenan

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Due to their inherent ability to swell in the presence of aqueous solutions, hydrogels offer a means for the delivery of therapeutic agents in a range of applications. In the context of designing functional tissue engineering scaffolds, their role in providing for the diffusion of nutrients to cells is of specific interest. In particular, the facility to provide such nutrients over a prolonged period within the core of a 3D scaffold is a critical consideration for the prevention of cell death and associated tissue-scaffold failure. The work reported here seeks to address this issue via fabrication of hybrid 3D scaffolds with a component fabricated from mixed molecular weight hydrogel formulations capable of storing and releasing nutrient solutions over a predetermined time period. To this end, poly(ethylene) glycol diacrylate hydrogel blends comprising mixtures of PEGDA-575Mw and PEGDA-2000Mw were prepared via UV polymerization. The effects of addition of the higher molecular weight component and the associated photoinitiator concentration on mesh size and corresponding fluid permeability have been investigated by diffusion and release measurements using a Theophylline as an aqueous nutrient model solution. Fluid permeability across the hydrogel films has also been determined using a Rhodamine B solution and associated fluorescence measurements. The results indicate that addition of PEGDA-2000Mw to PEGDA-575Mw coupled with the use of a specific photoinitiator concentration provides a means to change mesh size in a hydrogel network while still retaining an overall microporous material structure. The range of mesh sizes created and their distribution in a 3D construct provides for the conditions required for a more prolonged nutrient release profile for tissue engineering applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Oct 2019


  • Poly (ethylene) glycol diacrylate
  • mesh size
  • diffusion coefficient
  • partition coefficient


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