In order to obtain much slower biodegradable films, which are often required for biomedical applications, we have developed a series of studies on heterogeneous cross-linking of hyaluronic acid (HA) films by using 2-chloro-1-methylpyridinium iodide (CMPI) or 1-ethyl-(3,3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC) as cross-linking reagents. From the in vitro degradation rate, we found that EDC cross-linked HA films completely dissolved in PBS at 37°C during the period of 4-6 days. However, CMPI cross-linked HA films showed only a low percentage of weight loss over 30 days. This phenomenon could be explained from the mechanism of reaction between carboxyl group of HA and EDC. The latter reacted with carboxyl group to form an unstable intermediate O-acylurea, which showed a relatively low reactivity and quickly rearranged to form a stable N-acylurea. Thus, most of the EDC-activated carboxyl groups in HA were chemically transferred into N-acylurea or left as unreactive O-acylurea, and only a few of cross-linking bonds were formed between HA. On the other hand, the intermediate obtained from the reaction between carboxyl group and CMPI showed a relatively high reactivity and reacted with the hydroxyl group of the same and/or different molecules of HA to form an inter- and intramolecular esterification. Apparently, CMPI cross-linked HA films have a much higher cross-linking density and constructed a more rigid three-dimensional network. Therefore, it produced HA films, which dramatically increased its enzymatic stability in aqueous solution of hyaluronidase. The obtained results from elemental analyses, FT-IR spectra and NMR spectra also indicate that acylurea groups were introduced into EDC-cross-linked HA films.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering