Infoscience

Journal article

Biocomposite Hydrogels with Carboxymethylated, Nanofibrillated Cellulose Powder for Replacement of the Nucleus Pulposus

Biocomposite hydrogels with carboxymethylated, nanofibrillated cellulose (c-NFC) powder were prepared by UV polymerization of N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone with Tween 20 trimethacrylate as a cross-linking agent for replacement of the native, human nucleus pulposus (NP) in intervertebral disks. The swelling ratios and the moduli of elasticity in compression of neat and biocomposite hydrogels were evaluated in dependence of c-NFC concentration (ranging from 0 to 1.6% v/v) and degree of substitution (DS, ranging from 0 to 023). The viscoelastic properties in shear and the material relaxation behavior in compression were measured for neat and biocomposite hydrogels containing 0.4% v/v of fibrils (DS ranging from 0 to 0.23), and their morphologies were characterized by cryo-scanning electron microscopy (cryo-SEM). The obtained results show that the biocomposite hydrogels can successfully mimic the mechanical and swelling behavior of the NP. In addition, the presence of the c-NFC shows lower strain values after cyclic compression tests and consequently creates improved material relaxation properties compared with neat hydrogels. Among the tested samples, the biocomposite hydrogel containing 0.4% v/v of c-NFC with a DS of 0.17 shows the closest behavior to native NP. Further investigation should focus on evaluation and improvement of the long-term relaxation behavior.

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