Minimally invasive surgical procedures aiming to repair damaged maxillofacial tissues are hampered by its small, complex structures and difficult surgical access. Indeed, while arthroscopic procedures that deliver regenerative materials and/or cells are common in articulating joints such as the knee, there are currently no treatments that surgically place cells, regenerative factors or materials into maxillofacial tissues to foster bone, cartilage or muscle repair. Here, hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogels are developed, which are suitable for use in minimally invasive procedures, that can adhere to the surrounding tissue, and deliver cells and potentially drugs. By modifying HA with both methacrylate (MA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa) groups using a completely aqueous synthesis route, it is shown that MA-HA-Dopa hydrogels can be applied under aqueous conditions, gel quickly using a standard surgical light, and adhere to tissue. Moreover, upon oxidation of the Dopa, human marrow stromal cells attach to hydrogels and survive when encapsulated within them. These observations show that when incorporated into HA-based hydrogels, Dopa moieties can foster cell and tissue interactions, ensuring surgical placement and potentially enabling delivery/recruitment of regenerative cells. The findings suggest that MA-HA-Dopa hydrogels may find use in minimally invasive procedures to foster maxillofacial tissue repair.
- minimally invasive surgery
- tissue engineering