Gelatin modified with alkoxysilanes (GelmSi) forms hybrid hydrogels for bioengineering applications

16 June 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Biopolymers are ideal candidates for the development of hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. However, chemical modifications are required to further improve their mechanical properties, in particular to cross-link them for long-lasting applications or biofabrication. Herein, we developed a novel gelatin-based hydrogel precursor, “GelmSi”. Gelatin was chosen as starting material because of its biocompatibility and bioactivity, favouring cell adhesion and migration. Alkoxysilane moieties were introduced in a controlled manner on the lysine side chains of gelatin to obtain a hybrid precursor which reacts in physiological conditions, forming covalent siloxane bonds and allowing the formation of a three-dimensional chemical network. On the contrary to unmodified gelatin, siloxane covalent network dramatically increases the stiffness and the thermal stability of the resulting gelatin-based hydrogel, making it suitable for cell encapsulation and cell culture. The biorthogonality and versatility of the GelmSi hybrid hydrogel unlock a broad range of gelatin-based bioengineering applications.


hybrid hydrogel
sol-gel process
cell encapsulation
tissue engineering


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