• dextran;
  • hydrogels;
  • self-healing
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A dextran-based self-healing hydrogel is prepared by reversible Diels–Alder reaction under physiological conditions. Cytocompatible fulvene-modified dextran as main polymer chains and dichloromaleic-acid-modified poly(ethylene glycol) as cross-linkers are used. Both macro- and microscopic observation as well as the rheological recovery test confirm the self-healing property of the dextran-l-poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels (“l” means “linked-by”). In addition, scanning electrochemical microscopy is used to qualitatively and quantitatively in situ track the self-healing process of the hydrogel for the first time. It is found that the longitudinal depth of scratch on hydrogel surface almost completely healed at 37 °C after 7 h. This work represents a facile approach for fabrication of polysaccharide self-healing hydrogel, which can be potentially used in several biomedical fields.