Long-Term Controlled Release of Simvastatin from Photoprinted Triple-Networked Hydrogels Composed of Modified Chitosan and PLA–PEG Micelles


Local delivery of active agents using injectable or implantable hydrogels for tissue and bone regeneration is a promising therapy, but it remains challenging for controlling dose and duration of release. Simvastatin (SMV), a hydrophobic drug, has shown potential for osteogenic stimulation. Secure loading of hydrophobic drugs by physical interactions is particularly difficult to establish in hydrophilic polymer matrices, and their sustained release over several months for long-term regeneration has rarely been reported. Additionally, mechanical properties of hydrogels must be improved for a sufficient support while maintaining eventual biodegradability. This study assesses the effect of controlled SMV release from 3D-printed triple-network hydrogels for osteogenic stimulation and characterizes their mechanical and biological properties as an implant. SMV is loaded into polymeric micelles of polylactide/poly(ethylene glycol) triblock copolymers (PLA–PEG–PLA) and mixed with N-methacryloyl chitosan and PEG dimethacrylate to fabricate hydrogels by photo-cross-linked 3D printing. The hydrogel properties and drug release profiles have shown significant dependance on the polymer compositions. The SMV release from the triple-polymer-network hydrogel has continued for 17 weeks of observation. Cytocompatibility of hydrogels with various formulations is confirmed. The tunable triple-network hydrogels loaded with SMV provide a potential therapeutic value for bone regeneration.

Publication Title

Macromolecular Bioscience