Synthesis and Evaluation of a Thermoresponsive Degradable Chitosan-Grafted PNIPAAm Hydrogel as a “Smart” Gene Delivery System

Monika Ziminska, Jordan J. Wilson, Emma McErlean, Nicholas Dunne*, Helen O. McCarthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Thermoresponsive hydrogels demonstrate tremendous potential as sustained drug delivery systems. However, progress has been limited as formulation of a stable biodegradable thermosensitive hydrogel remains a significant challenge. In this study, free radical polymerization was exploited to formulate a biodegradable thermosensitive hydrogel characterized by sustained drug release. Highly deacetylated chitosan and N-isopropylacrylamide with distinctive physical properties were employed to achieve a stable, hydrogel network at body temperature. The percentage of chitosan was altered within the copolymer formulations and the subsequent physical properties were characterized using 1H-NMR, FTIR, and TGA. Viscoelastic, swelling, and degradation properties were also interrogated. The thermoresponsive hydrogels were loaded with RALA/pEGFP-N1 nanoparticles and release was examined. There was sustained release of nanoparticles over three weeks and, more importantly, the nucleic acid cargo remained functional and this was confirmed by successful transfection of the NCTC-929 fibroblast cell line. This tailored thermoresponsive hydrogel offers an option for sustained delivery of macromolecules over a prolonged considerable period.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2530
Number of pages22
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by MeDe and EPSRC, grant IKC2-POC2-20161201.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Drug delivery
  • Hydrogel
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Nanoparticles
  • Thermoresponsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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