The design of hydrogels that simultaneously report protease activity and remove excess protease from solution is elucidated. The hydrogels, based on amino-PEGA, combine enzyme-specific peptides flanked with FRET complimented by charged amino acid residues that facilitate protease uptake via short range electrostatic interactions. Enzymatic response was analysed using a combination of fluorescence spectroscopy, two-photon microscopy and UV/Vis spectroscopy. An optimised elastase-responsive hydrogel resulted in lowering of elastase levels below those typical of chronic wounds. The versatility of the modular-design approach was demonstrated by development of matrix metalloprotease and chymotrypsin sensitive systems.
- detection and management
- protease levels