Designing scaffolds made from natural polymers may be highly attractive for tissue engineering strategies. We sought to produce and characterize chitosan-coated collagen membranes and to assess their efficacy in promoting chondrocyte adhesion, growth, and cytokine secretion. Porous collagen membranes were placed in chitosan solutions then crosslinked with glutaraldehyde vapor. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analyses showed elevated absorption at 1655 cm-1
of the carbon–nitrogen (N=C) bonds formed by the reaction between the (NH2
) of the chitosan and the (C=O) of the glutaraldehyde. A significant peak in the amide II region revealed a significant deacetylation of the chitosan. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of the chitosan-coated membranes exhibited surface variations, with pore size ranging from 20 to 50 µm. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) revealed a decreased C–C groups and an increased C–N/C–O groups due to the reaction between the carbon from the collagen and the NH2 from the chitosan. Increased rigidity of these membranes was also observed when comparing the chitosan-coated and uncoated membranes at dried conditions. However, under wet conditions, the chitosan coated collagen membranes showed lower rigidity as compared to dried conditions. Of great interest, the glutaraldehyde-crosslinked chitosan-coated collagen membranes promoted chondrocyte adhesion, growth, and interleukin (IL)-6 secretion. Overall results confirm the feasibility of using designed chitosan-coated collagen membranes in future applications, such as cartilage repair.
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