Zhang Y, Sun Y, Yang X, Hilborn J, Heerschap A, Ossipov DA
Macromol Biosci 14 (9) 1249-1259 [2014-09-00; online 2014-05-23]
The development of multimodal in situ cross-linkable hyaluronic acid nanogels hybridized with iron oxide nanoparticles is reported. Utilizing a chemoselective hydrazone coupling reaction, the nanogels are converted to a macroscopic hybrid hydrogel without any additional reagent. Hydrophobic cargos remain encapsulated in the hydrophobic domains of the hybrid hydrogel without leakage. However, hydrogel degradation with hyaluronidase liberates iron oxide nanoparticles. This allows the utilization of imaging agents as tracers of the hydrogel degradation. UV-vis spectrometry and MRI studies reveal that the degradability of the hydrogels correlates with their structure. The hydrogels presented here are very promising theranostic tools for hyaluronidase-mediated delivery of hydrophobic drugs, as well as imaging of hydrogel degradation and tracking of degradation products in vivo.