Drying and storage effects on poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel mechanical properties and bioactivity

P. T. Luong, M. B. Browning, R. S. Bixler, E. Cosgriff-Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Hydrogels based on poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) are increasingly used in biomedical applications because of their ability to control cell-material interactions by tuning hydrogel physical and biological properties. Evaluation of stability after drying and storage are critical in creating an off-the-shelf biomaterial that functions in vivo according to original specifications. However, there has not been a study that systematically investigates the effects of different drying conditions on hydrogel compositional variables. In the first part of this study, PEG-diacrylate hydrogels underwent common processing procedures (vacuum-drying, lyophilizing, hydrating then vacuum-drying), and the effect of this processing on the mechanical properties and swelling ratios was measured. Significant changes in compressive modulus, tensile modulus, and swelling ratio only occurred for select processed hydrogels. No consistent trends were observed after processing for any of the formulations tested. The effect of storage conditions on cell adhesion and spreading on collagen- and streptococcal collagen-like protein (Scl2-2)-PEG-diacrylamide hydrogels was then evaluated to characterize bioactivity retention after storage. Dry storage conditions preserved bioactivity after 6 weeks of storage; whereas, storage in PBS significantly reduced bioactivity. This loss of bioactivity was attributed to ester hydrolysis of the protein linker, acrylate-PEG-N-hydroxysuccinimide. These studies demonstrate that these processing methods and dry storage conditions may be used to prepare bioactive PEG hydrogel scaffolds with recoverable functionality after storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3066-3076
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • bioactivity retention
  • drying
  • mechanical properties
  • poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels
  • processing
  • storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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