Poly(N-vinylacetamide) hydrogels (PNVA gels) were synthesized to investigate their basic characteristics for biomedical applications such as water contact angles, protein uptake, and mouse fibroblasts (L-929) cell adhesion. Because PNVA gels show hydrophilic features, double network (DN) hydrogels were prepared by the secondary polymerization of N-vinylacetamide (NVA) or acrylamide (AAm) in PNVA gels (NVA/NVA DN gels and NVA/AAm DN gels, respectively), in order to vary PNVA gel features for biocompatibility. Contact angles for both DN gels decreased to around 20 degrees, whereas both PNVA and PAAm gels were over 30 degrees. On the other hand, more protein tended to adsorb to DN gels than single network hydrogels. Compared to PNVA gel, cell adhesion and proliferation on NVA/NVA DN gel were improved with less swelling ratio and much protein uptake, while no significant difference was observed on NVA/AAm DN gel, probably due to more hydrophilic character, supported by lowest water contact angle. These complicated structure change in DN gels would provide a new methodology for tuning the biocompatibility of hydrogels and for controlling surface hydrophilic characteristics and network structures.
Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.,