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Keywords:

  • chitosan;
  • wound healing;
  • tissue engineering;
  • scaffold membrane;
  • gelatin

Abstract

Biodegradable polymers have significant potential in biotechnology and bioengineering. However, for some applications, they are limited by their inferior mechanical properties and unsatisfactory compatibility with cells and tissues. In the present investigation blends of chitosan and gelatin with various compositions were produced as candidate materials for biomedical applications. Fourier transform infrared spectral analysis showed good compatibility between these two biodegradable polymers. The composite films showed improved tensile properties, highly porous structure, antimicrobial activities, low water dissolution, low water uptake and high buffer uptake compared to pure chitosan or gelatin films. These enhanced properties could be explained by the introduction of free [BOND]OH, [BOND]NH2 and [BOND]NHOCOCH3 groups of the amorphous chitosan in the blends and a network structure through electrostatic interactions between the ammonium ions ([BOND]NH3+) of the chitosan and the carboxylate ions ([BOND]COO) of the gelatin. Scanning electron microscopy images of the blend composite films showed homogeneous and smooth surfaces which indicate good miscibility between gelatin and chitosan. The leafy morphologies of the scaffolds indicate a large and homogeneous porous structure, which would cause increased ion diffusion into the gel that could lead to an increase in stability in aqueous solution, buffer and temperature compared to the gelatin/chitosan system. In vivo testing was done in a Wistar rat (Rattus norvegicus) model and the healing efficiencies of the scaffolds containing various compositions of chitosan were measured. The healing efficiencies in Wistar rat of composites with gelatin to chitosan ratios of 10:3 and 10:4 were compared with that of a commercially available scaffold (Eco-plast). It was observed that, after 5 days of application, the scaffold with a gelatin to chitosan ratio of 10:3 showed 100% healing in the Wistar rat; however, the commercial Eco-plast showed only a little above 40% healing of the dissected rat wound. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry