Hybrid poly(ethylene glycol)-co-peptide hydrogels are a versatile platform for bone regeneration. For the use as injectable scaffolds, a good understanding of reaction kinetics and physical properties is vital. However, these factors have not yet been comprehensively illuminated. We show that gelation time can be effectively controlled by pH without affecting the elasticity of the formed hydrogels. Maleimide functionalised PEG gels at lower pH and produces more densely cross-linked networks than vinylsulfone functionalised PEG. Both form non-ideal networks. The elastic moduli on the order of a few kPa are in good agreement with the structural characterisation. Primary human osteoblasts cultured in proximity to bulk gels were not adversely affected in vitro. The results demonstrate that hybrid PEG-peptide hydrogels can be tailored to the requirements of in situ gelation. Attributed to their increased structural properties and a higher tolerance towards low pH, maleimide functionalised hydrogels might provide a better alternative for injectable applications.
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