Preparation and properties of crosslinked chitosan thermosensitive hydrogel for injectable drug delivery systems



The aim of this study was to prepare and investigate the physical properties of a thermosensitive crosslinked chitosan pregel solution, and evaluate the in vitro release profiles of macromolecules from this sol–gel transition system. Chitosan and poly (vinyl alcohol) were used to form an interpenetrating polymeric network with glutaraldehyde as the crosslinker, and glycerophosphate (GP) was added to transform the pH-dependent solutions into thermosensitive pH-dependent solutions. Rheological study showed that the gelation was dependent on the crosslink degree and GP concentration of the solution. The crosslinked gel had excellent mechanic properties and no apparent “pores” and formed an integrated hydrogel texture according to scanning electronic micrograph. Gas chromatography test guaranteed the medication safety with no detection of glutaraldehyde remnants in the hydrogels. In vitro release study showed that the gelation does not significantly affect the macromolecules diffusion but the crosslinking degree does. These results indicated that the hydrogel formed an intensified three-dimensional hybrid network with interpenetrating molecules, which effectively buffered or delayed the macromolecules diffusion. The hydrogels sustained the drug release over 30 days and could be potentially used as in situ gelling implants. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 101: 1892–1898, 2006