Hybrid polyurea elastomers with enzymatic degradation and tunable mechanical properties

Nicholas A. Sears, Geraldine Pena-Galea, Stacy N. Cereceres, Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Herein, we report on the synthesis and characterization of enzymatically labile polyureas for use as a tissue-engineered ligament scaffold. Polyureas were selected due to their excellent tensile properties, fatigue resistance, and highly tunable nature. Incorporation of a collagenase-sensitive peptide into the backbone of the polyurea provided a means to confer cell-responsive degradation to the synthetic polymer. Chemical, morphological, and mechanical testing were used to confirm incorporation of the peptide and characterize polyurea films. Notably, the incorporation of the peptide resulted in an increase in modulus, elongation, and tensile strength. This was attributed to an increase in phase mixing and an increase in hydrogen bonding between the hard and soft segments. Candidate polyureas with varying levels of collagen-mimetic peptide (0%, 10%, 20%) were then subjected to degradation in collagenase media or buffer at 37°C over 4 weeks. Statistically significant decreases in strength and elongation were observed in polyureas with 20% peptide content after collagenase treatment, whereas specimens in phosphate-buffered saline showed no statistically significant difference. These observations confirmed that enzyme-specific degradation was conferred to the polyurea. Overall, these polyureas hold great promise as a material for ligament reconstruction due to the promising mechanical properties and potential for cell-mediated degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering
StatePublished - Feb 13 2016


  • Polyurea
  • collagen
  • enzymatic degradation
  • hybrid
  • phase morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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