The mechanics of hyaluronic acid/adipic acid dihydrazide hydrogel: Towards developing a vessel for delivery of preadipocytes to native tissues

Naama Shoham, Aviad Levi Sasson, Feng Huei Lin, Dafna Benayahu, Rami Haj-Ali, Amit Gefen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Promising treatment approaches in repairing tissue defects include implementation of regenerative medicine strategies, particularly delivery of preadipocytes to sites where adipose tissue damage needs to be repaired or where fat needs to be generated. In this study, we suggest that the injectable hyaluronic acid/adipic acid dihydrazide (HA/ADH) hydrogel may be an adipose-tissue-like material in terms of biological compatibility as well as mechanical behavior. First, we show that the hydrogel enables and supports growth, proliferation and differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Second, given that adipose tissue is a weight-bearing biological structure, we investigate the large deformation mechanical behavior of the hydrogel with and without embedded preadipocytes, by performing confined and unconfined compression tests and then calibrating a strain energy density (SED) function to the results. Four test groups were examined: (1) Hydrogel specimens right after the preparation without cells, (2) and (3) 3-days-cultured hydrogel specimens with and without cells, respectively, and (4) 6-days-cultured hydrogel specimens with cells. A one-term Ogden SED was found to adequately describe the hyperelastic behavior of the hydrogel specimens in all experimental groups. Importantly, we found that the mechanical properties of the hydrogel, when subjected to compression, are in good agreement with those of native adipose tissue, with the better fit occurring 3-6 days after preparation of the hydrogel. Third, computational finite element studies of the mechanical (stress-strain) behavior of the HA/ADH hydrogel when containing mature adipocytes indicated that the stiffnesses of the constructs were mildly affected by the presence of the adipocytes. Hence, we conclude that injectable HA/ADH hydrogel may serve as a vessel for protecting preadipocytes during, and at a short-term after delivery to native tissues, e.g. in research towards regenerative medicine in tissue reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-331
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • ADSC
  • ATCC
  • DDW
  • DM
  • DMEM
  • ECM
  • FBS
  • FE
  • GM
  • HA/ADH
  • LD
  • Oxi-HA
  • PBS
  • Pen-Strep
  • SED
  • VOI


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