This study was designed to assess in vivo bone and soft tissue behavior of novel oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF) hydrogels using a rabbit model. In vitro degradation of the OPF hydrogels was also investigated in order to compare with in vivo characteristics. Four groups of OPF hydrogel implants were synthesized by alternation of crosslinking density, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) block length of OPF, and cell-binding peptide content. The in vitro degradation rate of OPF hydrogels increased with decreasing crosslinking density of hydrogels, which was characterized by measuring weight loss and swelling ratio of hydrogels and medium pH change. Examination of histological sections of the subcutaneous and cranial implants showed that an uniform thin circumferential fibrous capsule was formed around the OPF hydrogel implants. Quantitative evaluation of the tissue response revealed that no statistical difference existed in capsule quality or thickness between implant groups, implantation sites or implantation times. At 4 weeks, there was a very limited number of inflammatory and multinuclear cells at the implant-fibrous capsule interface for all implants. However, at 12 weeks, OPF hydrogels with PEG block length of number average molecular weight 6090±90 showed extensive surface erosion and superficial fragmentation that was surrounded by a number of inflammatory cells, while OPF hydrogels with PEG block length of number average molecular weight 930±10 elicited minimal degradation. Constant fibrous capsule layers and number of inflammatory cells were observed regardless of the incorporation of cell-binding peptide and crosslinking density of OPF hydrogels with PEG block length of number average molecular weight 930±90. These results confirm that the degradation of implants can be controlled by tailoring the macromolecular structure of OPF hydrogels. Additionally, histological evaluation of implants proved that the OPF hydrogel is a promising material for biodegradable scaffolds in tissue engineering.
- In vivo bone tissue response
- In vivo soft tissue response
- Oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate)
- Tissue engineering