Using Stereochemistry to Control Mechanical Properties in Thiol-Yne Click-Hydrogels

Laura J Macdougall, Maria M Pérez-Madrigal, Joshua E Shaw, Joshua C Worch, Christopher Sammon, Stephen M Richardson, Andrew P Dove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The stereochemistry of polymers has a profound impact on their mechanical properties. While this has been observed in thermoplastics, studies on how stereochemistry affects the bulk properties of swollen networks, such as hydrogels, are limited. Typically, changing the stiffness of a hydrogel is achieved at the cost of changing another parameter, that in turn affects the physical properties of the material and ultimately influences the cellular response. Herein, we report that by manipulating the stereochemistry of a double bond, formed in situ during gelation, materials with diverse mechanical properties but comparable physical properties can be obtained. Click-hydrogels that possess a high % trans content are stiffer than their high % cis analogues by almost a factor of 3. Human mesenchymal stem cells acted as a substrate stiffness cell reporter demonstrating the potential of these platforms to study mechanotransduction without the influence of other external factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25856-25864
Number of pages9
JournalAngewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
Issue number49
Early online date22 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • cellular mechanoresponsive behaviour
  • click-chemistry
  • hydrogels
  • stereochemistry
  • thiol–yne nucleophilic addition


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