Synthesis and photopolymerization of Tween 20 Methacrylate/N-vinyl-2-Pyrrolidone blend
Poly(oxyethylene 20 sorbitan) monolaurate (Tween® 20) methacrylates were synthesized by coupling methacryloyl chloride (MeOCl) to Tween 20 in the presence of 4-(N,N-dimethylamino) pyridine, using THF as a solvent, in order to investigate their suitability as precursors for photopolymerizable hydrogels in tissue engi- neering applications. The degree of substitution could be controlled by adjusting the molar ratio of MeOCl and Tween 20, giving three different monomers: Tween 20 monomethacrylate, Tween 20 dimethacrylate and Tween 20 trimethacrylate. Combined 1 H NMR and MALDI-TOF MS confirmed these monomers to be of high purity and to have polydispersities less than 1.3. It was shown that aqueous solutions of the monomers were photoactive, all the methacrylate groups reacting within 30 minutes exposure to a UV light intensity of 145 mW/cm2. Aqueous Tween 20 trimethacrylate was then combined with N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone (NVP), giving tough copolymer hydrogels on photopolymerization, whose swelling ratios and swelling rates could be tuned by varying the Tween 20 trimethacrylate content. The use of a flexible spacer with a multifunctional monomer gives a permanent three-dimensional network, whilst maintaining degrees of swelling of between 60 and 85%, with potential for a wide range of biological and non-biological applications.