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Degradation Of Covalently Cross-linked Carboxymethyl Chitosan And Its Potential Application For Peripheral Nerve Regeneration

Guangyuan Lu, L. Kong, Baiyang Sheng, G. Wang, Yandao Gong, X. Zhang
Published 2007 · Materials Science
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Abstract Chitosan has been widely used in a variety of biomedical applications including peripheral nerve repair because of its excellent mechanical properties and biocompatibility. However, chitosan itself has a very slow degradation rate, and its molecules degrade in an uncontrollable manner. We hypothesized that the cross-linking of carboxymethyl chitosan (CM-chitosan), which is soluble in water, would result in a higher degradation rate in lysozyme solutions, while retaining its excellent mechanical properties and nerve cell affinity. In this study, we characterized the constructed matrix formed using a combination of carboxymethylation of chitosan chains and thereafter 1-ethyl-3(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) cross-linking. Specifically, after EDC cross-linking, the hydrophilicity and elastic modulus of the CM-chitosan films decreased. These changes are beneficial in the application of chitosan derivatives for nerve repair. The porous conduits degraded to 30% in weight during eight weeks of incubation in lysozyme solution (pH 7.4, 37 °C). In addition, the cross-linked CM-chitosan films enhanced the spread of Neuro-2a cells and provided a good proliferation substratum for Neuro-2a cells, as compared to chitosan films. Therefore, cross-linking with EDC is a promising way to modify chitosan derivatives for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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