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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2013;24(5):621-43. doi: 10.1080/09205063.2012.701549. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Dense chitosan surgical membranes produced by a coincident compression-dehydration process.

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  • 1Agenta Biotechnologies Inc, 1500 1st Avenue North, Unit 31, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA. dooley@agentabio.com

Abstract

High density chitosan membranes were produced via a novel manufacturing process and used as implantable resorbable surgical membranes. The innovative method utilizes the following three sequential steps: (1) casting an acidic chitosan solution within a silicon mold, followed by freezing; (2) neutralizing the frozen acidic chitosan solution in alkaline solution to facilitate polymerization; and (3) applying coincident compression-dehydration under a vacuum. Resulting membranes of 0.2-0.5 mm thickness have densities as high as 1.6 g/cm(3). Inclusion of glycerol prior to the compression-dehydration step provides additional physical and clinical handling benefits. The biomaterials exhibit tensile strength with a maximum load as high as 10.9 N at ~2.5 mm width and clinically relevant resistance to suture pull-out with a maximum load as high as 2.2 N. These physical properties were superior to those of a commercial reconstituted collagen membrane. The dense chitosan membranes have excellent clinical handling characteristics, such as pliability and 'memory' when wet. They are semipermeable to small molecules, biodegradable in vitro in lysozyme solution, and the rates of degradation are inversely correlated to the degree of deacetylation. Furthermore, the dense chitosan membranes are biocompatible and resorbable in vivo as demonstrated in a rat oral wound healing model. The unique combination of physical, in vitro, in vivo, and clinical handling properties demonstrate the high utility of dense chitosan membranes produced by this new method. The materials may be useful as surgical barrier membranes, scaffolds for tissue engineering, wound dressings, and as delivery devices for active ingredients.

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