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Polyurethane-based hydrogels are relatively inexpensive and mechanically robust biomaterials with ideal properties for various applications, including drug delivery, prosthetics, implant coatings, soft robotics, and tissue engineering. In this report, a simple method is presented for synthesizing and casting biocompatible polyurethane-poly(ethylene glycol) (PU-PEG) hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties, nonfouling characteristics, and sustained tolerability as an implantable material or coating. The hydrogels are synthesized via a simple one-pot method using commercially available precursors and low toxicity solvents and reagents, yielding a consistent and biocompatible gel platform primed for long-term biomaterial applications. The mechanical and physical properties of the gels are easily controlled by varying the curing concentration, producing networks with complex shear moduli of 0.82-190 kPa, similar to a range of human soft tissues. When evaluated against a mechanically matched poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) formulation, the PU-PEG hydrogels demonstrated favorable nonfouling characteristics, including comparable adsorption of plasma proteins (albumin and fibrinogen) and significantly reduced cellular adhesion. Moreover, preliminary murine implant studies reveal a mild foreign body response after 41 days. Due to the tunable mechanical properties, excellent biocompatibility, and sustained in vivo tolerability of these hydrogels, it is proposed that this method offers a simplified platform for fabricating soft PU-based biomaterials for a variety of applications.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Healthc Mater

Publication Date





biomaterials, hydrogels, nonfouling, polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyurethane, Humans, Mice, Animals, Biocompatible Materials, Polyurethanes, Hydrogels, Tissue Engineering, Polyethylene Glycols