To fabricate environmentally sensitive hydrogels with better biocompatibility, natural materials such as protein and polysaccharide have been widely used. Environmentally sensitive hydrogels can be used as a drug carrier for sustained drug release due to its stimulus responsive performance. The relationship between the internal structure of hydrogels and their drug delivery behaviors remains indeterminate. In this study, environmentally sensitive hydrogels fabricated by blending silk fibroin/chitosan with different mass ratios were successfully prepared using 1-(3-Dimethylaminopropyl)-3-ethylcarbodiimide (EDC)/N-Hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) cross-linking agent. Scanning-electron microscopy (SEM) images showed the microcosmic surface of the gel had a 3-D network-like and interconnected pore structure. The N2 adsorption–desorption method disclosed the existence of macroporous and mesoporous structures in the internal structure of hydrogels. Data of compression tests showed its good mechanical performance. The swelling performance of hydrogels exhibited stimuli responsiveness at different pH and ion concentration. With the increase of pH and ion concentration, the swelling ratios of hydrogels (silk fibroin (SF)/ chitosan (CS) = 8/2 and 7/3) decreased. Methylene blue (MB) was loaded into the hydrogels to confirm the potential of sustained drug release and pH-responsive behavior. Therefore, due to the porous structure, stable mechanical strength, stimuli responsive swelling performance, and drug release behaviors, the SF/CS composite hydrogels have potential applications in controlled drug release.
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