Tough, self-healable and tissue-adhesive hydrogel with tunable multifunctionality
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An ideal hydrogel for biomedical engineering should mimic the intrinsic properties of natural tissue, especially high toughness and self-healing ability, in order to withstand cyclic loading and repair skin and muscle damage. In addition, excellent cell affinity and tissue adhesiveness enable integration with the surrounding tissue after implantation. Inspired by the natural mussel adhesive mechanism, we designed a polydopamine–polyacrylamide (PDA–PAM) single network hydrogel by preventing the overoxidation of dopamine to maintain enough free catechol groups in the hydrogel. Therefore, the hydrogel possesses super stretchability, high toughness, stimuli-free self-healing ability, cell affinity and tissue adhesiveness. More remarkably, the current hydrogel can repeatedly be adhered on/stripped from a variety of surfaces for many cycles without loss of adhesion strength. Furthermore, the hydrogel can serve as an excellent platform to host various nano-building blocks, in which multiple functionalities are integrated to achieve versatile potential applications, such as magnetic and electrical therapies.