The aim of this project is to produce and characterize self-organized and multicomponent hybrid hydrogels that are able to locally deliver nitric oxide (NO) in a prolonged fashion. NO is one of the smallest known biologically active molecules which participates in a series of physiological and pathophysiological processes, such as epithelial tissue regeneration, vasodilation and, in increased concentrations, may lead to cell death by apoptosis. The NO ability to promote apoptosis has recently been proven to be useful for the development of antitumoral devices. In this context, the ability to control NO concentration, as well as NO release rate from biomaterials is essential. Moreover, NO low residence time in corporeal media demands for biomaterials that allow the NO release to be prolonged for days or even weeks. Therefore, the present project proposes the development of hybrid hydrogels cross-linked by silsesquioxane structures, that incorporate distinct NO donors (hydrophilic and hydrophobic) to promote a two-step NO release as well as to prolong NO release. The hybrid hydrogels of interest to this work will be prepared by means of the hydrolysis and condensation of triethoxysilyl groups, chemically linked to the polymeric chains and will generate hydrogels for topical applications and nanogels for antitumoral applications. Finally, the materials obtained herein will be characterized in terms of their physical-chemical properties and NO release profiles both n vitro and in vivo.
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