Multifunctional Microgel-Based Cream Hydrogels for Postoperative Abdominal Adhesion Prevention

Bo Liu, Yunfan Kong, Olawale A. Alimi, Mitchell A. Kuss, Huiyin Tu, Wenfeng Hu, Abu Rafay, Kumar Vikas, Wen Shi, Megan Lerner, William L. Berry, Yulong Li, Mark A. Carlson, Bin Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Postoperative abdominal adhesions are a common problem after surgery and can produce serious complications. Current antiadhesive strategies focus mostly on physical barriers and are unsatisfactory and inefficient. In this study, we designed and synthesized advanced injectable cream-like hydrogels with multiple functionalities, including rapid gelation, self-healing, antioxidation, anti-inflammation, and anti-cell adhesion. The multifunctional hydrogels were facilely formed by the conjugation reaction of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and hyaluronic acid (HA)-based microgels and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) based on the dynamic boronic ester bond. The physicochemical properties of the hydrogels including antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities were systematically characterized. A mouse cecum-abdominal wall adhesion model was implemented to investigate the efficacy of our microgel-based hydrogels in preventing postoperative abdominal adhesions. The hydrogels, with a high molecular weight HA, significantly decreased the inflammation, oxidative stress, and fibrosis and reduced the abdominal adhesion formation, compared to the commercial Seprafilm group or Injury-only group. Label-free quantitative proteomics analysis demonstrated that S100A8 and S100A9 expressions were associated with adhesion formation; the microgel-containing hydrogels inhibited these expressions. The microgel-containing hydrogels with multifunctionality decreased the formation of postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions in a murine model, demonstrating promise for clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3847-3864
Number of pages18
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2023


  • Tissue adhesions
  • anti-inflammation
  • antioxidation
  • dynamic hydrogel
  • proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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