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Biomaterials. 2008 Oct;29(29):3905-13. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.06.025. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

Non-cytotoxic, in situ gelable hydrogels composed of N-carboxyethyl chitosan and oxidized dextran.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, State University of New York-Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8181, USA.


A series of in situ gelable hydrogels were prepared from oxidized dextran (Odex) and N-carboxyethyl chitosan (CEC) without any extraneous crosslinking agent. The gelation readily took place at physiological pH and body temperature. The gelation process was monitored rheologically, and the effect of the oxidation degree of dextran on the gelation process was investigated. The higher the oxidation degree of Odex, the faster the gelation. A highly porous hydrogel structure was revealed under scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Swelling and degradation of the Odex/CEC hydrogels in PBS showed that both swelling and degradation were related to the crosslinking density of the hydrogels. In particular, the hydrogels underwent fast mass loss in the first 2 weeks, followed by a more moderate degradation. The results of long-term cell viability tests revealed that the hydrogels were non-cytotoxic. Mouse fibroblasts were encapsulated in the hydrogels and cell viability was at least 95% within 3 days following encapsulation. Furthermore, cells entrapped inside the hydrogel assumed round shape initially but they gradually adapted to the new environment and spread-out to assume more spiny shapes. Additionally, the results from applying the Odex/CEC system to mice full-thickness transcutaneous wound models suggested that it was capable of enhancing wound healing.

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