Ultrasound-responsive NIPAM-based hydrogels with tunable profile of controlled release of large molecules
Episodic release of bioactive compounds plays an important role in biological systems. “On-demand” release systems which based on polymeric materials and activated by external stimuli may provide the necessary functionality. Here we describe an ultrasound-responsive hydrogel based on N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) and N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide (MBAm), which is suitable for triggered release of two large molecules: bovine serum albumin (BSA, 66 kDa) and dextran (3–5 kDa). It is shown that the release amount of these two large molecules increased with increasing hydrogel temperature, and the application of ultrasound further increased the release. By simply adjusting the contents of NIPAM and MBAm, the difference of BSA release between the presence and absence of ultrasound could be adjusted from 2.7 to 84 folds. There was also a positive correlation between the ultrasound intensity and release amount. These properties made the NIPAM-based hydrogel a tunable platform for focal drug delivery.