Nitrocinnamate-functionalized gelatin: Synthesis and "smart" hydrogel formation via photo-cross-linking

Kerim M. Gattás-Asfura, Eric Weisman, Fotios M. Andreopoulos, Miodrag Micic, Bill Muller, Sanjeev Sirpal, Si M. Pham, Roger M. Leblanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Gelatin having p-nitrocinnamate pendant groups (Gel-NC) was prepared via an efficient one-pot synthesis, yield > 87 %. 1H NMR data indicated that 1 mol of gelatin was modified with 18 ± 6 mol of the photosensitive group. Upon exposure to low-intensity 365 nm UV light and in the absence of photoinitiators or catalysts, Gel-NC cross-linked within minutes into a gelatin-based hydrogel as monitored by UV-vis spectroscopy. The degree of swelling of this biodegradable hydrogel in aqueous solutions responded to changes in Gel-NC concentration levels, the ionic strength of the aqueous solutions, and photo-cross-linking time. Topography changes associated with phase transition resulting from "photocleavage" of the hydrogel network with 254 nm UV light were studied with AFM. Both Gel-NC and its hydrogel expressed low toxicity to human neonatal fibroblast cells. In addition, gelatin-based microgels were prepared via the photo-cross-linking of Gel-NC within inverse micelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1503-1509
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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