Effects of chitosan alkali pretreatment on the preparation of electrospun PCL/chitosan blend nanofibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering application

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Recently, nanofibrous scaffolds have been used in the field of biomedical engineering as wound dressings, tissue engineering scaffolds, and drug delivery applications. The electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds can be used as carriers for several types of drugs, genes, and growth factors. PCL is one of the most commonly applied synthetic polymers for medical use because of its biocompatibility and slow biodegradability. PCL is hydrophobic and has no cell recognition sites on its structure. Electrospinning of chitosan and PCL blend was investigated in formic acid/acetic acid as the solvent with different PCL/chitosan ratios. High viscosity of chitosan solutions makes difficulties in the electrospinning process. Strong hydrogen bonds in a 3D network in acidic condition prevent the movement of polymeric chains exposed to the electrical field. Consequently, the amount of chitosan in PCL/chitosan blend was limited and more challenging when the concentration of PCL increases. The treatment of chitosan in alkali condition under high temperature reduced its molecular weight. Longer treatment time further decreased the molecular weight of chitosan and hence its viscosity. Electrospinning of PCL/chitosan blend was possible at higher chitosan ratio, and SEM images showed a decrease in fiber diameter and narrower distribution with increase in the chitosan ratio. © 2013 Fatemeh Roozbahani et al.

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