A new acid-labile acetal cross-linker was synthesized and used to prepare protein-loaded hydrogels and microgels. This cross-linker undergoes an acid-catalyzed degradation with a half-life of 5.5 min at pH 5.0 and 24 h at pH 7.4. Protein-loaded hydrogels were synthesized with this cross-linker, and their release profiles were measured as a function of pH. Hydrogels made with the acetal cross-linker release their contents in a pH-dependent manner. The acetal cross-linker was also used to synthesize microgels with sizes between 1 and 10 μm, a range suitable for phagocytosis. The unique acid sensitivity of the acetal cross-linker should make it a useful synthetic intermediate in the design of acid-sensitive drug or gene delivery systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry