Release characteristics of novel pH-sensitive p(HEMA-DMAEMA) hydrogels containing 3-(trimethoxy-silyl) propyl methacrylate

Sean Brahim, Dyer Narinesingh, Anthony Guiseppi-Elie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


An amphiphilic hydrogel of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) cross-linked with tetraethyleneglycol diacrylate (TEGDA) was synthesized to contain the hydrophobic monomer 3-(trimethoxy-silyl) propyl methacrylate (PMA) and the pH-responsive, hydrophilic monomer N′,N′-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA). The gels were separately loaded with two biomolecular probes, insulin and protamine, via both physical entrapment and equilibrium imbibition methods. The release profiles for these biomolecular probes, possessing similar MW (5.7 and 4-6 kDa, respectively) but different pI's (5.3 and 10.0, respectively), were investigated with respect to variation in the pH of the bathing medium as well as the DMAEMA content, and the cross-link density of the hydrogel. Gels exhibited classical Fickian diffusion release profiles. For a typical gel composition 66:15:10:09 mol % (HEMA:DMAEMA:PMA:TEGDA), as the pH of the release media decreased from 7.3 to 4.0, the rate of release of both biomolecular probes increased. When loaded via entrapment, the insulin release rate increased ca. 4-fold (1.0-3.7 × 10-7 cm2 s-1), whereas that of protamine increased 10-fold (0.3-3.3 × 10-7 cm2 s-1). When loaded by imbibition, the insulin diffusion coefficient increased 2-fold (3.8-7.2 × 10-7 cm2 s-1), whereas that of protamine increased 3-fold (1.9-5.5 × 10-7 cm2 s-1). The reduction of pH, through its protonation of the gel network, has a more dramatic influence on protamine release, the result of its higher pI (10.0) compared to that of insulin (5.3). As the DMAEMA content of the hydrogel was increased from 0 to 20 mol %, the diffusion coefficient of protamine increased by ca. 7-fold (1.7-12.2 × 10-7 cm2 s-1), whereas that of insulin increased only ca. 2-fold (1.7-4.0 × 10-7 cm2 s-1). This differential release confirms the role of internal protonation in effecting the greater release of the protonated drug molecule. Increasing the TEGDA content from 3 to 15 mol % reduced the diffusion coefficient ca. 3-fold for insulin (1.6-0.5 × 10-7 cm2 s-1) and 5-fold for protamine (4.0-0.8 × 10-7 cm2 s-1). The final Dip at 15 mol % TEGDA suggests that the smaller mesh size offsets any differential release that arises from protonation. The presence of PMA in the hydrogel formulation, which contributes additional cross-links by reason of the formation of siloxane macromers, did not change the usually observed Fickian diffusion mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1231
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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