Charge-balanced copolymer hydrogels: potential as biomedical materials

Darren Campbell, Brian Tighe

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceAbstract


Polyzwitterionic-containing hydrogel materials been proposed for use in biomaterial applications. Polyzwitterions contain anions and cations in the same monomeric unit, unlike polyampholytes which contain them in different monomeric units. The use of cationic and anionic monomers in stoichiometrically equivalent proportions produces charge-balanced polyampholytes (PA) copolymers. Membranes prepared using either betaine-containing (BT) polyzwitterionic copolymers or PA copolymers can share similar properties, but the range of EWCs offered by membranes incorporating BT and PA monomers is greater than that for conventional neutral hydrogels and methacrylic acid-based systems. Here we compare properties of BT-containing and PA-containing copolymer membranes, relevant to their potential as biomedical materials.
Membranes of the copolymers were prepared as previously described. Surface energy was determined using a GBX Digidrop (GBX Scientific Instruments), with diidomethane and water as probes. The absorption of proteins was determined by soaking the membranes in 1mg/ml protein solutions for a predetermined time, and measuring UV absorption of the membranes at certain wavelengths.
The BT and PA copolymer membranes displayed similar values for the polar components and dispersive components of total surface free energy. This was perhaps not surprising when the structures of the monomers were considered. The BT and PA copolymer membranes displayed differences in their protein absorption over time, with the PA demonstrating higher uptake of protein than the BT. In addition to the aforementioned greater EWC range, the use of BT and PA copolymer membranes also avoids some of the problems associated with net anionicity. Comparison of the BT copolymer with the “pseudo” zwitterionic PA copolymers shows that controlled molecular architecture is required to gain the benefits of balancing the charges present in the copolymers in a way that will make them beneficial to hydrogel design.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventPolymeric and Self-assembled Hydrogels - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sept 20125 Sept 2012


ConferencePolymeric and Self-assembled Hydrogels
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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