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Chitosan hydrogels enriched with bioactive phloroglucinol for controlled drug diffusion and potential wound healing

Updated: Jun 25

Roberta Teixeira Polez, Margaret A. Ajiboye, Monika Österberg, Marilia M. Horn

Abstract: We report a facile strategy to prepare chitosan (CS) hydrogels that eliminates the need for chemical crosslinking for advanced biomedical therapies. This approach gives controlled properties to the hydrogels by incorporating a natural bioactive phenolic compound, phloroglucinol (PG), into their microstructure. The adsorption of PG onto CS chains enhanced the hydrogels' antioxidant activity by up to 25% and resulted in a denser, more entangled structure, reducing the pore size by 59 μm while maintaining porosity above 94%. This allowed us to finely adjust pore size and swelling capacity. These structural properties make these hydrogels well-suited for wound healing dressings, promoting fibroblast proliferation and exhibiting excellent hemocompatibility. Furthermore, to ensure the versatility of these hydrogels, herein, we demonstrate their potential as drug delivery systems, particularly for dermal infections. The drug release can be controlled by a combination of drug diffusion through the swollen hydrogel and relaxation of the CS chains. In summary, our hydrogels leverage the synergistic effects of CS's antibacterial and antifungal properties with PG's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory attributes, positioning them as promising candidates for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications, more specifically in advanced wound healing therapies with local drug delivery.


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