Design and synthesis of proteoglycan analogues for tissue repair and regeneration

  • Jane Bramhill

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is concerned with the design and synthesis of a novel, injectable
proteoglycan analogue for tissue repair. This is of particular relevance to the
restoration of disc height to a degraded nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc. The focus is on the use of sulfonate monomers as proteoglycan analogues, in particular sodium 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid and the potassium salt of 3-sulfopropyl acrylate.
For most biomedical applications, synthetic hydrogels need to show dimensional stability to changes in pH, osmolarity, and temperature. This is readily achieved by neutral structures however ionic sulfonate containing hydrogels are responsive to environmental change which renders them difficult to manage in most tissue replacement applications. In this case osmotic responsiveness rather than stability is desirable. Therefore sulfonate based materials possess advantageous properties. This is a result of the sulfonate becoming an ideal surrogate for the sulfate group present within the structure of natural proteoglycans.
This thesis reports polymerisation studies based on the production of a redox initiated copolymer system capable of polymerising in situ within a timescale of circa. 5-7 minutes. The rheological properties, osmotic drive, and residual monomer content of successful compositions is analysed. Properties are adapted to mimic those of the target natural tissue.
The adaptation of the material for use as an injectable intra-ocular lens, with hyaluronic acid as an interpenetrate is reported. The synthesis of a radiopaque macromer to allow visibility of the repair system once in situ is investigated and discussed.
The results presented in this thesis describe a suitable proteoglycan tissue analogue which is injectable, biomimetic, osmotically responsive and mechanically stable in its desired application.
Date of Award9 Jan 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • proteoglycan analogue
  • osmotically responsive
  • biomimetric

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