Jin, R., Moreira Teixeira, L.S., Dijkstra, P.J., Karperien, H.B.J., Blitterswijk, C.A. van, Zhong, Z.Y. & Feijen, J.
Biomaterials, 30(13), 2544-2551
Water-soluble chitosan derivatives, chitosan-graft-glycolic acid (GA) and phloretic acid (PA) (CH-GA/PA), were designed to obtain biodegradable injectable chitosan hydrogels through enzymatic crosslinking with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and H2O2. CH-GA/PA polymers were synthesized by first conjugating glycolic acid (GA) to native chitosan to render the polymer soluble at pH 7.4, and subsequent modification with phloretic acid (PA). The CH-GA43/PA10 with a degree of substitution (DS, defined as the number of substituted NH2 groups per 100 glucopyranose rings of chitosan) of GA of 43 and DS of PA of 10 showed a good solubility at pH values up to 10. Short gelation times (e.g. 10 s at a polymer concentration of 3 wt%), as recorded by the vial tilting method, were observed for the CH-GA43/PA10 hydrogels using HRP and H2O2. It was shown that these hydrogels can be readily degraded by lysozyme. In vitro culturing of chondrocytes in CH-GA43/PA10 hydrogels revealed that after 2 weeks the cells were viable and retained their round shape. These features indicate that CH-GA/PA hydrogels are promising as an artificial extracellular matrix for cartilage tissue engineering.