Biomedical research continuously pushes the boundaries of innovation to develop products that can improve human health and overall well-being. One such substance the researchers have invented is biomedical chitosan. These biodegradable, biocompatible, and nontoxic poly carbohydrates are derived from chitin. Chitin is a natural polymer found in the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters, which strengthens the shells of crustaceans.
There are many beneficial properties of chitin which has given huge popularity to chitosan in recent years. From wound dressings and surgical sutures to drug delivery systems and dental applications, chitosan is used in various ways in medicine and healthcare. This guide will explore biomedical chitosan, its properties, fabrication methods, and applications. So, let’s dive into the topic and take you through such an informational guide.
Key Properties of Biomedical Chitosan
Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide composed of glucosamine and N-acetylglucosamine units obtained through the deacetylation of chitin. In this section, we will discover some of the key properties of such chitosan that make it such a demanding product in
One of the most excellent properties of this product is its biocompatibility. This means chitosan reacts to living tissues without eliciting adverse reactions, making it suitable for tissue engineering and drug delivery systems.
Another excellent property of this polysaccharide is that they are biodegradable. This means it can be broken down by colonic bacteria and lysozyme colonic bacterial enzymes in the human body. The biodegradability of chitosan makes it a good material to use in medical implants, as no surgery is needed to remove them from the body, reducing the risk of long-term complications.
Its antibacterial and antifungal properties make them a valuable component in wound dressing. The positively charged amino groups chitosan interact with the negatively charged microbial cell membranes, which leads to cell disruption and then cell death. Such antimicrobial properties of chitosan make them used in wound dressing, surgical implants, and drug delivery systems, as they promote healing and prevent infection.
Chitosan’s hemostatic properties have made it a vital asset in managing bleeding in both surgical and emergency situations. When chitosan comes into contact with blood, it forms a gel-like matrix that accelerates clot formation and helps stop bleeding.
Due to its hemostatic qualities, chitosan is an essential tool for controlling bleeding during both surgical and emergency settings. Chitosan works to halt bleeding by interacting with blood to create a gel-like matrix that speeds up clot formation. Its enhancement of cell proliferation, collagen synthesis, and angiogenesis, which are crucial procedures for tissue regeneration, is also responsible for its capacity to improve wound healing.
Controlled Drug Delivery
Its porous structure and ability to encapsulate a wide range of drugs enable the sustained release of therapeutic agents in the human body. Furthermore, it leads to enhanced drug efficacy and reduced side effects. Due to their controlled drug delivery properties, they are widely used in cancer therapy, where targeted and controlled release of chemotherapeutic agents can improve treatment outcomes.
It can prolong the contact time between the drug-loaded formulation and the target tissue, thereby improving drug absorption and bioavailability. This property is particularly valuable in oral drug delivery and mucoadhesive patches.
Chitosan is valuable in biomedical imaging procedures like MRI, CT scans, and ultrasound because it can be altered to accommodate imaging agents like nanoparticles or contrast agents. These chitosan-based imaging agents can provide important details regarding anatomical structures and the development of diseases.
Chitosan can modulate the immune response because it has immunomodulatory qualities, which allow it to do so. Potential uses for its immunomodulation property include vaccine delivery systems and immunotherapy. Chitosan can be managed to either boost or decrease immunological responses depending on the situation.
Fabrication Methods for Biomedical Chitosan
This section will examine various techniques for creating chitosan-based materials, each catering to a particular use.
Electrospinning: Crafting Nanofibrous Scaffolds
Electrospinning is a versatile technique that enables the production of ultrafine fibres with diameters ranging from nanometers to micrometres. In the realm of biomedical chitosan, electrospinning has been widely employed to create nanofibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering. These scaffolds mimic the extracellular matrix, providing a favourable microenvironment for cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. Researchers have successfully fabricated chitosan-based nanofibrous scaffolds for applications in bone regeneration, wound healing, and cartilage tissue engineering.
3D Bioprinting: Pioneering Tissue Fabrication
By enabling the exact deposition of cells and biomaterials to produce intricate three-dimensional structures, 3D bioprinting has completely changed the field of tissue engineering. This method has been applied to the field of chitosan to create complex tissue constructions with precise spatial chitosan dispersion. Researchers have developed bioactive scaffolds with specific mechanical qualities for use in skin grafts, vascular grafts, and organ-on-a-chip systems by mixing chitosan with other bio-inks.
Micropatterning: Controlling Cell Behavior
Micropattering involves the precise arrangement of cells and biomaterials on a substrate to control cellular behaviour and tissue growth. Chitosan-based micropatterned surfaces have been developed to guide cell adhesion, alignment, and differentiation. This technique has found applications in nerve regeneration, where micropatterned chitosan surfaces promote directional neurite outgrowth.
Hydrogel Synthesis: Injectable and Cell-Laden Matrices
Hydrogels are three-dimensional networks that absorb large amounts of water while maintaining structural integrity. Chitosan-based hydrogels have gained attention for their potential in drug delivery and tissue engineering. Advanced fabrication methods, such as photo-crosslinking and enzyme-induced gelation, have created injectable hydrogels that encapsulate cells and bioactive molecules. These hydrogels hold promise for applications in wound healing, drug delivery, and soft tissue engineering.
Nanoparticle Formulation: Enhancing Drug Delivery
Chitosan nanoparticles have emerged as promising carriers for controlled drug delivery. Fabrication techniques like nanoprecipitation and ionotropic gelation allow for encapsulating therapeutic agents within chitosan nanoparticles. These nanoparticles can protect drugs from degradation, control their release kinetics, and enhance their bioavailability. Chitosan nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems have been explored for cancer therapy, antimicrobial treatment, and gene delivery.
Applications of Biomedical Chitosan Fabrication Techniques
The versatility of biomedical chitosan enables its application in various medical fields:
Healing of Wounds and Regeneration of Tissue
Wound healing and tissue regeneration are two of biomedical chitosan’s most well-known uses. Because of its special qualities, including biocompatibility, antibacterial activity, and the capacity to elicit cellular responses, chitosan is a prime choice for tissue engineering scaffolds and wound dressings. Wound dressings made of chitosan offer a moist environment that encourages quicker healing and lowers the risk of infection. Chitosan has also been used as scaffolds for bone, cartilage, and skin tissue engineering, opening up a promising new field in regenerative medicine due to its inherent capacity to speed up tissue regeneration.
Drug Delivery Systems
The versatility of chitosan also extends to the field of drug delivery systems, where it works well as a carrier for a variety of medicinal substances. Its mucoadhesive qualities enable precise drug administration to mucosal surfaces, including the respiratory and digestive tracts. Drugs can be encapsulated in chitosan nano- and microparticles, preventing their deterioration and allowing for regulated release. Chitosan-based drug delivery systems are essential tools in precision medicine because of their regulated release mechanism, which increases the therapeutic efficacy of medications while lowering adverse effects.
Biomedical Implants and Devices
Chitosan is a promising material for biomedical implants and devices because of its biocompatibility and capacity to facilitate cell adhesion. Implant surfaces with chitosan coatings help in osseointegration, which is the process by which implants fuse with the surrounding bone tissue. In orthopedic and dental implants, where effective integration is essential for implant stability and lifetime, this characteristic is very advantageous. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities of chitosan help to lower the risk of infections linked to implanted devices.
Chitosan’s potential as a cancer treatment has recently been investigated in a study. Chitosan nanoparticles can be functionalized to deliver anticancer medications precisely to tumor locations, minimizing harm to healthy tissues and enhancing therapeutic results. Chitosan may also be used as adjuvant therapy for many cancers due to its capacity to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. Despite the fact that more research is needed in this area, chitosan shows promise as a supportive element in upcoming cancer therapy plans.
Gene Delivery and Transfection
New treatment options for hereditary and acquired disorders have been made possible by advances in gene therapy. Chitosan is a good choice for gene transport and transfection because of its capacity to condense and safeguard nucleic acids like DNA and RNA. Chitosan-based vectors can help transport therapeutic genes to cells in an effective and focused manner, potentially providing treatments for genetic illnesses, tissue regeneration, and vaccination.
Biomedical chitosan is a promising candidate in the field of medical innovation. It is an appealing material for wound care, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and other applications due to its distinctive characteristics, versatility in manufacture, and wide range of uses. Biomedical chitosan can potentially transform medical procedures and enhance patient lives as long as research is conducted and problems are resolved.
Chitosan is a superb illustration of how natural resources can be used to provide unique medical solutions. Its transformation from chitin to a flexible biomedical marvel highlights the value of interdisciplinary research and the potential for new discoveries to influence healthcare policy.