Characterization of molecular transport in ultrathin hydrogel coatings for cellular immunoprotection

Jacob L. Lilly, Gabriela Romero, Weijie Xu, Hainsworth Y. Shin, Brad J. Berron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


PEG hydrogels are routinely used in immunoprotection applications to hide foreign cells from a host immune system. Size-dependent transport is typically exploited in these systems to prevent access by macromolecular elements of the immune system while allowing the transport of low molecular weight nutrients. This work studies a nanoscale hydrogel coating for improved transport of beneficial low molecular weight materials across thicker hydrogel coatings while completely blocking transport of undesired larger molecular weight materials. Coatings composed of PEG diacrylate of molecular weight 575 and 3500 Da were studied by tracking the transport of fluorescently labeled dextrans across the coatings. The molecular weight of dextran at which the transport is blocked by these coatings are consistent with cutoff values in analogous bulk PEG materials. Additionally, the diffusion constants of 4 kDa dextrans across PEG 575 coatings (9.5 × 10-10-2.0 × 10-9 cm2/s) was lower than across PEG 3500 coatings (5.9-9.8 × 10-9 cm2/s), and these trends and magnitudes agree with bulk scale models. Overall, these nanoscale thin PEG diacrylate films offer the same size selective transport behavior of bulk PEG diacrylate materials, while the lower thickness translates directly to increased flux of beneficial low molecular weight materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 9 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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