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Marcia W. Patchan, Jenna Graham, Zhiyong Xia, Jeffrey Maranchi, Jennifer Elisseeff, Oliver D. Schein, Morgana Trexler; Regenerated Cellulose Hydrogels with High Optical Transparency and Mechanical Strength for Corneal Applications. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):6126.
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To optimize the mechanical and optical properties of regenerated cellulose hydrogels for corneal applications.
Cellulose hydrogels were prepared by activating two grams of cellulose powder in 100mL N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMAc) with stirring for 24 hours, after which 8g of LiCl was added with continued stirring and gentle heating until the solution became clear. The resulting solution was poured into silicone molds of the appropriate dimensions for mechanical testing or onto glass plates to obtain thin sheets. The gelled samples were gently washed in water to remove excess LiCl/DMAc and stored in water prior to characterization. The gels were characterized for tensile strength, tear strength, crosslinking density, crystal structure, optical transparency, and biocompatibility.
Cellulose hydrogels were prepared from different types of cellulose (cotton, plant, and bacteria derived). After initial characterization, the cellulose types with the highest tensile strength and optical transparency (Figure 1) were further characterized based on synthesis parameters (cellulose concentration, gelation humidity, and stir time).
Cellulose hydrogels with optimized material properties can be synthesized by controlling the gelation humidity and cellulose concentration. These materials show promise for corneal applications due to their biocompatibility, transparency, strength and potential for drug delivery.
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