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TECHNOLOGICAL WATCH

Type of information: TECHNICAL ARTICLES

In this section, you can access to the latest technical information related to the PISA project topic.

Injectable and Gellable Chitosan Formulations Filled with Cellulose Nanofibers for Intervertebral Disc Tissue Engineering

The development of non-cellularized injectable suspensions of viscous chitosan (CHI) solutions (1.7–3.3% (w/w)), filled with cellulose nanofibers (CNF) (0.02–0.6% (w/w)) of the type nanofibrillated cellulose, was proposed for viscosupplementation of the intervertebral disc nucleus pulposus tissue. The achievement of CNF/CHI formulations which can gel in situ at the disc injection site constitutes a minimally-invasive approach to restore damaged/degenerated discs. We studied physico-chemical aspects of the sol and gel states of the CNF/CHI formulations, including the rheological behavior in relation to injectability (sol state) and fiber mechanical reinforcement (gel state). CNF-CHI interactions could be evidenced by a double flow behavior due to the relaxation of the CHI polymer chains and those interacting with the CNFs. At high shear rates resembling the injection conditions with needles commonly used in surgical treatments, both the reference CHI viscous solutions and those filled with CNFs exhibited similar rheological behavior. The neutralization of the flowing and weakly acidic CNF/CHI suspensions yielded composite hydrogels in which the nanofibers reinforced the CHI matrix. We performed evaluations in relation to the biomedical application, such as the effect of the intradiscal injection of the CNF/CHI formulation in pig and rabbit spine models on disc biomechanics. We showed that the injectable formulations became hydrogels in situ after intradiscal gelation, due to CHI neutralization occurring in contact with the body fluids. No leakage of the injectate through the injection canal was observed and the gelled formulation restored the disc height and loss of mechanical properties, which is commonly related to disc degeneration.

» Author: Ingo Doench

» Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym10111202

» Publication Date: 27/10/2018

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