The chitosan prepared from crab tendons: II. The chitosan/apatite composites and their application to nerve regeneration
The chitosan tubes derived from crab tendons form a hollow tube structure, which is useful for nerve regeneration. However, in order to use the chitosan tubes effectively for nerve regeneration, there remain two problems to be solved. First, the mechanical strength of the tubes is quite high along the longitudinal axis, but is somewhat low for a pressure from side. Second, the chitosan tube walls swell to reduce the inner space of the tubes in vivo. These two problems limit the clinical use of the chitosan tubes. In this study, to solve the problems, apatite was made to react with the chitosan tubes to enhance the mechanical strength of the tube walls. Transmission electron microscopy showed that apatite crystals were formed in the walls of the chitosan tubes. The c-axis of the crystals aligned well in parallel with chitosan molecules. These results indicate that the apatite crystals grow in the tubes starting from the nucleation sites of the chitosan molecules, probably by forming complexes with amino groups of chitosan and calcium ions. Further, the tubes were thermally annealed at 120°C to prevent from swelling, and simultaneously formed into a triangular shape to enhance the stabilization of the tube structure. By these treatments, the hollow tubes could keep their shape even in vivo after implantation. Animal tests using SD rats further showed that the chitosan tubes effectively induced the regeneration of nerve tissue, and were gradually degraded and absorbed in vivo.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 24, Issue 19, August 2003, Pages 3285–3292