Research Insights

Highly Efficient Self-Healable and Dual Responsive Cellulose-Based Hydrogels for Controlled Release and 3D Cell Culture

Xuefeng Yang, Guoqiang Liu, Liao Peng, Jinhua Guo, Lei Tao, Jinying Yuan, Chunyu Chang, Yen Wei*, and Lina Zhang*

College of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, and Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Phosphorus Chemistry and Chemical Biology (Ministry of Education), Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, P. R. China

Adv. Funct. Mater., 2017, 27 (40), 1703174

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201703174

First published: 4 September 2017


We have designed and constructed a new class of cellulose-based self-healing hydrogels with dual responsiveness, good structural integrity and mechanical properties through the dynamic covalent acylhydrazone linkages. Under the catalysis of biocompatible 4-amino-DL-phenylalanine, the acylhydrazone linkages integrate both the stability of covalent bonds and the reversibility of noncovalent bonds, endowing the hydrogels with good mechanical properties and excellent self-healing abilities under physiological conditions. Moreover, the hydrogels display pH/redox dual responsive sol-gel transition behaviors, and can be applied to the controlled release of drugs. Benefitting from their excellent biocompatibility and dynamic crosslinking networks, the hydrogels also present great advantages in the 3D encapsulation and culture of cells. With these superior properties, the cellulose-based self-healing hydrogels show potential applications in drug delivery and 3D cell culture for tissue engineering.

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