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A Carbodiimide Cross-Linked Silk Fibroin/Sodium Alginate Composite Hydrogel with Tunable Properties for Sustained Drug Delivery
Macromolecular Materials and Engineering  (IF4.367),  Pub Date : 2021-08-18, DOI: 10.1002/mame.202100470
Yiyu Wang, Chunqing Niu, Jian Shi, Wenlong Yu, Chunhong Zhu, Qin Zhang, Mamoru Mizuno

Carbodiimide cross-linked silk fibroin (SF)/sodium alginate (SA) composite hydrogels with superior stability and tunable properties are developed by varying preparation parameters. SF/SA blend ratio modulation allows to achieve composite hydrogel gelation times of 18–65 min, and rheological analysis shows that the speed of gel formation, the hydrogel network's density, and the hydrogels’ compressive properties are closely related to the blend ratio. The G′ of different hydrogels varies substantially from 28 to 413 Pa, and the hydrogel with higher SF content has a greater stiffness. The composite hydrogels present appropriate porosity of 76.63–85.09% and pore size of 316–603 µm. Hydrogel stability improves significantly after cross-linking, and substantial swelling occurs due to the hydrophilicity of SA. The 7/3 and 6/4 SF/SA hydrogels are more resistant to degradation in PBS, and cytotoxicity testing confirmed their biocompatibility. For release studies in vitro, two model compounds are used as drug models, tetracycline hydrochloride, and bovine serum albumin (BSA). Different ratios of SF/SA have a greater influence on the release of BSA. This study provides a practical preparation method for flexible SF/SA composite hydrogels, which can help design hydrogels with specific physicochemical properties for different applications, especially drug delivery.