The present review article intends to direct attention to the technological advances made since 2009 in the area of genipin-crosslinked chitosan (GEN-chitosan) hydrogels. After a concise introduction on the well recognized characteristics of medical grade chitosan and food grade genipin, the properties of GEN-chitosan obtained with a safe, spontaneous and irreversible chemical reaction, and the quality assessment of the gels are reviewed. The antibacterial activity of GEN-chitosan has been well assessed in the treatment of gastric infections supported by Helicobacter pylori
. Therapies based on chitosan alginate crosslinked with genipin include stem cell transplantation, and development of contraction free biomaterials suitable for cartilage engineering. Collagen, gelatin and other proteins have been associated to said hydrogels in view of the regeneration of the cartilage. Viability and proliferation of fibroblasts were impressively enhanced upon addition of poly-l
-lysine. The modulation of the osteocytes has been achieved in various ways by applying advanced technologies such as 3D-plotting and electrospinning of biomimetic scaffolds, with optional addition of nano hydroxyapatite to the formulations. A wealth of biotechnological advances and know-how has permitted reaching outstanding results in crucial areas such as cranio-facial surgery, orthopedics and dentistry. It is mandatory to use scaffolds fully characterized in terms of porosity, pore size, swelling, wettability, compressive strength, and degree of acetylation, if the osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells is sought: in fact, the novel characteristics imparted by GEN-chitosan must be simultaneously of physico-chemical and cytological nature. Owing to their high standard, the scientific publications dated 2010–2015 have met the expectations of an interdisciplinary audience.
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