The vast majority of patients with corneal blindness cannot recover their vision due to the serious shortage of donor cornea. However, the technology to construct a feasible corneal substitute is a promising treatment method for corneal blindness. In this paper, methacrylated gelatin (GelMA)-methacrylated hyaluronic acid (HAMA) double network (GHDN) hydrogels were prepared by modifying gelatin and hyaluronic acid with methacrylate anhydride (MA). GHDN hydrogel was compared with GelMA single network and HAMA single network hydrogels through characterization experiments of mechanical properties, optical properties, hydrophilicity and in-situ degradation in vitro. At the same time, the biocompatibility of hydrogel was tested by inoculating rabbit corneal epithelial cells (CEpCs) epidermal cells on hydrogels using CCK-8 test, live/dead staining, immunofluorescence staining and qRT-PCR. It was found that the GHDN hydrogel has optical transparency in the visible region, and its mechanical properties are better than those of GelMA and HAMA hydrogels, and its hydrophilicity is similar to that of normal human corneas. The results of in vitro hydrogel culture of CEpCs showed that the proliferation of CEpCs on GHDN hydrogel was two times higher than that of HAMA hydrogel, and the expression of specific marker Cytokeratin 3 (CK3) and Cytokeratin 12 (CK12) could be better maintained on GHDN hydrogel. All the experimental results proved that GHDN hydrogel has good physical properties and biocompatibility and is a potential candidate for corneal tissue engineering scaffolds.Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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