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In Vitro And In Vivo Degradation Of Films Of Chitin And Its Deacetylated Derivatives.

K. Tomihata, Y. Ikada
Published 1997 · Materials Science, Medicine

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Chitin was deacetylated to various extents with NaOH to obtain partially and thoroughly deacetylated chitins. The specimens used in this study were deacetylated by 0 (chitin), 68.8, 73.3, 84.0, 90.1 and 100 mol% (chitosan). Films with a thickness of 150 microns were prepared from these specimens by the solution casting method. The equilibrated water contents of the films were 52.4 (chitin), 73.8 (68.8 mol%), 64.2 (73.3 mol%), 61.8 (84.0 mol%), 57.8 (90.1 mol%) and 49.7 wt% (chitosan), while the tensile strengths of the water-swollen films were 244 (chitin), 197 (68.8 mol%), 232 (73.3 mol%), 320 (84.0 mol%), 293 (90.1 mol%) and 433 g mm-2 (chitosan). The maximum water content and the minimum tensile strength observed for a specimen deacetylated between 0 and 68.8 mol% may be ascribed to the lowered crystallinity by deacetylation of chitin, since both chitin and chitosan are crystalline polymers. Unlike their physical properties, in vitro and in vivo degradations of these films occurred less rapidly without passing a maximum or minimum, as their degree of deacetylation became higher. The in vitro degradation was carried out by immersing the films in buffered aqueous solution of pH 7 containing lysozyme at 37 degrees C, while the in vivo degradation was studied by subcutaneously implanting the films in the back of rats. It was found that the rate of in vivo biodegradation was very high for chitin and 68.8 mol% deacetylated chitin, compared with that for the 73.3 mol% deacetylated chitin. The films which were more than 73.3 mol% deacetylated showed slower biodegradation. Interestingly, the tissue reaction towards highly deacetylated derivatives including chitosan was very mild, although they had cationic primary amines in the molecule.
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