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Compact Saloplastic Membranes of Natural Polysaccharides for Soft Tissue Engineering

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journal contribution
posted on 10.11.2015 by Rui R. Costa, Ana M. S. Costa, Sofia G. Caridade, João F. Mano
The regeneration of soft biological tissues requires new substitutes that exhibit mechanical properties similar to the native tissue. Herein, thin saloplastic membranes with tunable physical properties are prepared by complexation of chitosan and alginate solutions containing different concentrations of sodium chloride. Polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) are transferred to flat Petri dishes for compaction into membrane shapes by sedimentation and solvent evaporation. All membranes are resistant to degradation by lysozyme and are stable in solutions with pH values between 1 and 13. Immersing the different membranes in new doping solutions of increasing salt concentrations triggers the typical saloplastic behavior, with a high water absorption and decrease of the rigidity and ultimate tensile strength. The range of such variations is tuned by the sodium chloride amount used in the synthesis: high salt concentrations increase water uptake and tensile moduli, while decreasing the ultimate strength. Cellular assays demonstrate high proliferation rates and viability of L929 fibroblasts seeded onto the most rigid membranes. The results validate the use of saloplastic membranes as soft tissue substitutes for future biomedical applications.