To confirm the degradability of PdBT, CS/PdBT, BMPm/PdBT, and NC/PdBT cross-linked hydrogels via hydrolysis, an accelerated degradation study under acidic conditions was performed according to established protocols (20, 34). Fabricated hydrogels were flash-frozen in liquid N2, lyophilized, and measured for initial dry weight (Wi). Dry gels were then immersed in 4 ml of 0.1 M HCl at 37°C to undergo reswelling and hydrolytic degradation, with replacement of HCl every 3 to 4 days. At time points of interest, the respective hydrogels were flash-frozen in N2 and lyophilized to acquire the degraded dry weight (Wt). The percentage weight loss at each time point was calculated by 100% × WiWtWi. Each cross-linking macromer’s degradation study was then concluded once all the lyophilized gels at a given time point could completely solubilize in 4 ml of PBS (pH 7.4) at 4°C, indicating breakdown of chemical cross-linking.

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