Tuning the non-equilibrium state of a drug-encapsulated poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel for stem and progenitor cell mobilization

Youyun Liang, Tor W. Jensen, Edward J. Roy, Chaenyung Cha, Ross J. DeVolder, Richie E. Kohman, Bao Zhong Zhang, Kyle B. Textor, Lauretta A. Rund, Lawrence B. Schook, Yen Wah Tong, Hyunjoon Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Injectable and biodegradable hydrogels have been increasingly studied for sustained drug delivery in various molecular therapies. However, it remains a challenge to attain desired delivery rate at injection sites due to local tissue pressures exerted on the soft hydrogels. Furthermore, there is often limited controllability of stiffness and degradation rates, which are key factors required for achieving desired drug release rate and therapeutic efficacy. This study presents a stiff and metastable poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA)-poly(ethylene imine) (PEI) hydrogel which exhibits an elastic modulus equivalent to bulk plastic materials, and controllable degradation rate independent of its initial elastic modulus. Such unique stiffness was attained from the highly branched architecture of PEI, and the decoupled controllability of degradation rate was achieved by tuning the non-equilibrium swelling of the hydrogel. Furthermore, a single intramuscular administration of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF)-encapsulated PEGDA-PEI hydrogel extended the mobilization of mononuclear cells to four days. A larger yield of expanded CD34+ and CD31+ endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) was also obtained as compared to the daily bolus administration. Overall, the hydrogel created in this study will be useful for the controlled and sustained delivery of a wide array of drug molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2004-2012
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Degradation rate
  • Granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF)
  • Michael-Addition
  • Poly(ethyleneimine)
  • Rigidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics


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