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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Stimuli-responsive drug delivery systems are urgently required for injectable site-specific delivery and release of drugs in a controlled manner. For this purpose, we developed novel pH-sensitive, biodegradable, and antimicrobial hydrogels from bio-macromolecule pectin, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), 3-aminopropyl (diethoxy)methyl silane (3-APDEMS), and sepiolite clay via blending and solution casting technique. The purified sepiolite (40 um) was functionalized with 3-APDEMS crosslinker (ex-situ modification) followed by hydrogels fabrication. FTIR and SEM confirmed crosslinked structural integrity and rod-like morphology of hydrogels respectively. The swelling properties of hydrogels could be controlled by varying the concentration of modified clay in pectin/PVP blends. Moreover, the decrease in pH increased the swelling of hydrogels indicating the pH-responsiveness of hydrogels. All hydrogels were degraded after 21 days in phosphate buffer saline pH 7.4 (human blood pH). In-vitro cytotoxicity against 3T3 mouse fibroblast cell line analysis confirmed cytocompatibility of all hydrogels. Ceftriaxone sodium (CTX-S) was selected as a model drug. The release profile of the hydrogel showed 91.82% release in PBS for 2 h in a consistent and controlled manner. The chemical structure of the drug remained intact during and after release confirmed through UV-Visible spectroscopy. Overall, these hydrogels could be used as potential scaffolds for future biomedical applications.

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© 2022 Rehmat, Rizvi, Khan, Ghaffar, Islam, Khan, Mehmood, Butt and Rizwan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Publisher’s version of record:

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Frontiers in Materials

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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