Infoscience

Journal article

Curing Kinetics and Mechanical Properties of a Composite Hydrogel for the Replacement of the Nucleus Pulposus

A polymer material system has been developed to propose an injectable, UV and in situ curable hydrogel with properties similar to the native nucleus pulposus of intervertebral disc. Neat hydrogels based on Tween® 20 trimethacrylates (T3) and N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone (NVP) and composite hydrogels of same composition reinforced by nano-fibrillated cellulose were synthesized with different T3 concentrations and their curing kinetics was investigated by photorheology using UV light. The T3 concentration has an influence on the time of curing and final shear stiffness of the material. NFC does not alter the time of curing but increases the final mechanical performance of the hydrogels for a same chemical composition. Hydrogel samples, neat and composite, were then tested in unconfined compression at different hydration stages and in confined compression and their elastic modulus was determined. The amount of fluid present in the network is mostly responsible for the mechanical properties and NFC fibres proved to be an efficient reinforcement. The elastic modulus ranged from 0.02 to 8 MPa. Biocompatibility studies showed that cells are confluent at 90% and do not show any morphology change when in contact with the hydrogel. The present hydrogel can therefore be considered for NP replacement.

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