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Three-Dimensional Stable Alginate-Nanocellulose Gels For Biomedical Applications: Towards Tunable Mechanical Properties And Cell Growing

P. Siqueira, É. Siqueira, Ana Elza de Lima, Gilberto Siqueira, Ana Delia Pinzón-Garcia, Ana Paula Lopes, M. C. Segura, A. Isaac, F. Pereira, V. R. Botaro
Published 2019 · Materials Science, Medicine

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Hydrogels have been studied as promising materials in different biomedical applications such as cell culture in tissue engineering or in wound healing. In this work, we synthesized different nanocellulose-alginate hydrogels containing cellulose nanocrystals, TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanocrystals (CNCTs), cellulose nanofibers or TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibers (CNFTs). The hydrogels were freeze-dried and named as gels. The nanocelluloses and the gels were characterized by different techniques such as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA), while the biological features were characterized by cytotoxicity and cell growth assays. The addition of CNCTs or CNFTs in alginate gels contributed to the formation of porous structure (diameter of pores in the range between 40 and 150 μm). TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibers have proven to play a crucial role in improving the dimensional stability of the samples when compared to the pure alginate gels, mainly after a thermal post-treatment of these gels containing 50 wt % of CNFT, which significantly increased the Ca2+ crosslinking density in the gel structure. The morphological characteristics, the mechanical properties, and the non-cytotoxic behavior of the CNFT-alginate gels improved bioadhesion, growth, and proliferation of the cells onto the gels. Thus, the alginate-nanocellulose gels might find applications in tissue engineering field, as for instance, in tissue repair or wound healing applications.
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