Novel polyacrylates-based hydrogel thin films were prepared by electrochemical polymerization, a new method to obtain hydrogels directly onto metal substrates. 2-Hydroxy-ethyl-methacrylate (HEMA), a macromer poly (ethylene-glycol diacrylate) (PEGDA) and PEGDA copolymerized with acrylic acid (AA) were used to obtain hydrogels. The electrosynthesized coatings were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, to assess their surface chemical composition, and by water content determination measurements, to characterize the swelling behavior. In particular, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring was used to evaluate the pH-dependency of the swelling for AA-containing hydrogels. Moreover, a model protein (bovine serum albumin) and a model drug (caffeine) were entrapped within the hydrogel coatings during electrosynthesis, to examine the release performances and mechanisms of the electrosynthesized hydrogels. It was observed that all the examined polymers showed significant release properties and, in particular, AA-containing hydrogel films confirmed a strong pH-dependence as expected. These coatings seem to be promising in orthopedic field for in site drug delivery applications. (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res 88A: 1048-1057, 2009
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