An electro-responsive hydrogel for intravascular applications: an in vitro and in vivo evaluation

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Verbrugghe, Peter
Verhoeven, Jelle
Coudyzer, Walter
Verbeken, Eric
Dubruel, Peter
Mendes, Eduardo
Stam, Frank
Meuris, Bart
Herijgers, Paul
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There is a growing interest in using hydrogels for biomedical applications, because of more favourable characteristics. Some of these hydrogels can be activated by using particular stimuli, for example electrical fields. These stimuli can change the hydrogel shape in a predefined way. It could make them capable of adaptation to patient-specific anatomy even post-implantation. This is the first paper aiming to describe in vivo studies of an electro-responsive, Pluronic F127 based hydrogel, for intravascular applications. Pluronic methacrylic acid hydrogel (PF127/MANa) was in vitro tested for its haemolytic and cytotoxic effects. Minimal invasive implantation in the carotid artery of sheep was used to evaluate its medium-term biological effects, through biochemical, macroscopic, radiographic, and microscopic evaluation. Indirect and direct testing of the material gave no indication of the haemolytic effects of the material. Determination of fibroblast viability after 24 h of incubation in an extract of the hydrogel showed no cytotoxic effects. Occlusion was obtained within 1 h following in vivo implantation. Evaluation at time of autopsy showed a persistent occlusion with no systemic effects, no signs of embolization and mild effects on the arterial wall. An important proof-of-concept was obtained showing biocompatibility and effectiveness of a pluronic based electro-responsive hydrogel for obtaining an arterial occlusion with limited biological impact. So the selected pluronic-methacrylic acid based hydrogel can be used as an endovascular occlusion device. More importantly it is the first step in further development of electro-active hydrogels for a broad range of intra-vascular applications (e.g. system to prevent endoleakage in aortic aneurysm treatment, intra-vascular drug delivery).
Hydrogels , Pluronic methacrylic acid hydrogel , Occlusion device , Biomedical applications , Intra-vascular applications
Verbrugghe, P., Verhoeven, J., Coudyzer, W., Verbeken, E., Dubruel, P., Mendes, E., Stam, F., Meuris, B. & Herijgers, P. 2015. An electro-responsive hydrogel for intravascular applications: an in vitro and in vivo evaluation. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 26, 1-8.