Adhesive Hydrogel Building Blocks to Reconstruct Complex Cartilage Tissues. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cartilage has an intrinsically low healing capacity, thereby requiring surgical intervention. However, limitations of biological grafting and existing synthetic replacements have prompted the need to produce cartilage-mimetic substitutes. Cartilage tissues perform critical functions that include load bearing and weight distribution, as well as articulation. These are characterized by a range of high moduli (1 MPa) as well as high hydration (60-80%). Additionally, cartilage tissues display spatial heterogeneity, resulting in regional differences in stiffness that are paramount to biomechanical performance. Thus, cartilage substitutes would ideally recapitulate both local and regional properties. Toward this goal, triple network (TN) hydrogels were prepared with cartilage-like hydration and moduli as well as adhesivity to one another. TNs were formed with either an anionic or cationic 3rd network, resulting in adhesion upon contact due to electrostatic attractive forces. With the increased concentration of the 3rd network, robust adhesivity was achieved as characterized by shear strengths of 80 kPa. The utility of TN hydrogels to form cartilage-like constructs was exemplified in the case of an intervertebral disc (IVD) having two discrete but connected zones. Overall, these adhesive TN hydrogels represent a potential strategy to prepare cartilage substitutes with native-like regional properties.

published proceedings

  • ACS Biomater Sci Eng

altmetric score

  • 3.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Demott, C. J., Jones, M. R., Chesney, C. D., & Grunlan, M. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Demott, Connor J||Jones, McKenzie R||Chesney, Caleb D||Grunlan, Melissa A

publication date

  • April 2023