Visible light crosslinkable chitosan hydrogels for tissue engineering
In situ gelling constructs, which form a hydrogel at the site of injection, offer the advantage of delivering cells and growth factors to the complex structure of the defect area for tissue engineering. In the present study, visible light crosslinkable hydrogel systems were presented using methacrylated glycol chitosan (MeGC) and three blue light initiators: camphorquinone (CQ), fluorescein (FR) and riboflavin (RF). A minimal irradiation time of 120 s was required to produce MeGC gels able to encapsulate cells with CQ or FR. Although prolonged irradiation up to 600 s improved the mechanical strength of CQ- or FR-initiated gels (compressive modulus 2.8 or 4.4 kPa, respectively), these conditions drastically reduced encapsulated chondrocyte viability to 5% and 25% for CQ and FR, respectively. Stable gels with 80–90% cell viability could be constructed using radiofrequency (RF) with only 40 s irradiation time. Increasing irradiation time up to 300 s significantly improved the compressive modulus of the RF-initiated MeGC gels up to 8.5 kPa without reducing cell viability. The swelling ratio and degradation rate were smaller at higher irradiation time. RF-photoinitiated hydrogels supported proliferation of encapsulated chondrocytes and extracellular matrix deposition. The feasibility of this photoinitiating system as in situ gelling hydrogels was further demonstrated in osteochondral and chondral defect models for potential cartilage tissue engineering. The MeGC hydrogels using RF offer a promising photoinitiating system in tissue engineering applications.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 8, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages 1730–1738