Interpenetrating gallol functionalized tissue adhesive hyaluronic acid hydrogel polarizes macrophages to an immunosuppressive phenotype

Sumanta Samanta, Vignesh K. Rangasami, Heela Sarlus, Jay R.K. Samal, Austin D. Evans, Vijay S. Parihar, Oommen P. Varghese, Robert A. Harris, Oommen P. Oommen

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Innovative scaffold designs that modulate the local inflammatory microenvironment through favorable macrophage polarization and suppressing oxidative stress are needed for successful clinical translation of regenerative cell therapies and graft integration. We herein report derivation of a hydrazone-crosslinked gallol functionalized hyaluronic acid (HA-GA)-based hydrogel that displayed outstanding viscoelastic properties and immunomodulatory characteristics. Grafting of 6% gallol (GA) to a HA-backbone formed an interpenetrative network by promoting an additional crosslink between the gallol groups in addition to hydrazone crosslinking. This significantly enhanced the mechanical stability and displayed shear-thinning/self-healing characteristics, facilitated tissue adhesive properties to porcine tissue and also displayed radical scavenging properties, protecting encapsulated fibroblasts from peroxide challenge. The THP-1 human macrophage cell line or primary bone-marrow-derived murine macrophages cultured within HA-GA gels displayed selective polarization to a predominantly anti-inflammatory phenotype by upregulating IL4ra, IL-10, TGF-β, and TGF-βR1 expression when compared with HA-HA gels. Conversely, culturing of pro-inflammatory activated primary murine macrophages in HA-GA gels resulted in a significant reduction of pro-inflammatory TNF-α, IL-1β, SOCS3 and IL-6 marker expression, and upregulated expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines including TGF-β. Finally, when the gels were implanted subcutaneously into healthy mice, we observed infiltration of pro-inflammatory myeloid cells in HA-HA gels, while immunosuppressive phenotypes were observed within the HA-GA gels. Taken together these data suggest that HA-GA gels are an ideal injectable scaffold for viable immunotherapeutic interventions. Statement of significance: Host immune response against the implanted scaffolds that are designed to deliver stem cells or therapeutic proteins in vivo significantly limits the functional outcome. For this reason, we have designed immunomodulatory injectable scaffolds that can favorably polarize the recruited macrophages and impart antioxidant properties to suppress oxidative stress. Specifically, we have tailored a hyaluronic acid-based extracellular matrix mimetic injectable scaffold that is grafted with immunomodulatory gallol moiety. Gallol functionalization of hydrogel not only enhanced the mechanical properties of the scaffold by forming an interpenetrating network but also induced antioxidant properties, tissue adhesive properties, and polarized primary murine macrophages to immunosuppressive phenotype. We believe such immunoresponsive implants will pave the way for developing the next-generation of biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Gallic acid
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Interpenetrating network
  • Macrophage polarization
  • Tissue-adhesive hydrogel

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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