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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2001 Nov 5;52(2):105-15.

Topical formulations and wound healing applications of chitosan.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita 18-jo, Nishi 9-chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0818, Japan.


Chitosan is being used as a wound-healing accelerator in veterinary medicine. To our knowledge, chitosan enhances the functions of inflammatory cells such as polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) (phagocytosis, production of osteopontin and leukotriene B4), macrophages (phagocytosis, production of interleukin (IL)-1, transforming growth factor beta 1 and platelet derived growth factor), and fibroblasts (production of IL-8). As a result, chitosan promotes granulation and organization, therefore chitosan is beneficial for the large open wounds of animals. However, there are some reported complications of chitosan application. Firstly, chitosan causes lethal pneumonia in dogs which are given a high dose of chitosan. In spite of application of chitosan to various species, this finding is observed only in dogs. Secondly, intratumor injection of chitosan on mice bearing tumor increases the rate of metastasis and tumor growth. Therefore, it is important to consider these effects of chitosan, prior to drug delivery.

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