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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2012;23(10):1339-54. doi: 10.1163/092050611X581516. Epub 2012 May 8.

Bacterial cellulose: long-term biocompatibility studies.

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a IBB, Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Universidade do Minho , Campus de Gualtar , 4710-057 , Braga , Portugal.


The bacterial cellulose (BC) secreted by Gluconacetobacter xylinus is a network of pure cellulose nanofibres which has high crystallinity, wettability and mechanical strength. These characteristics make BC an excellent material for tissue-engineering constructs, noteworthy for artificial vascular grafts. In this work, the in vivo biocompatibility of BC membranes produced by two G. xylinus strains was analyzed through histological analysis of long-term subcutaneous implants in the mice. The BC implants caused a mild and benign inflammatory reaction that decreased along time and did not elicit a foreign body reaction. A tendency to calcify over time, which may be related to the porosity of the BC implants, was observed, especially among the less porous BC-1 implants. In addition, the potential toxicity of BC nanofibres - obtained by chemical-mechanical treatment of BC membranes - subcutaneously implanted in mice was analysed through bone marrow flow cytometry and histological analyses. At 2 and 4 months post-implantation, the nanofibres implants were found to accumulate intracellularly, in subcutaneous foamy macrophages aggregates. Moreover, no differences were observed between the controls and implanted animals in thymocyte populations and in B lymphocyte precursors and myeloid cells in the bone marrow.


Bacterial cellulose; in vivo biocompatibility; nanofibres; tissue engineering

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