Ashley C. Parker, Jessica A. Jennings, Joel D. Bumgardner, Harry S. Courtney, Ernö Lindner, Warren O. Haggard
Local versus systemic antibiotic delivery may be an effective strategy for treating musculoskeletal infections, especially when antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present. Lyophilized uncrosslinked, genipin crosslinked, and genipin crosslinked with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) chitosan sponges were analyzed for their in vitro degradation rate, chemical crosslinking, antibiotic uptake, elution, biologic activity, and cytotoxicity. These evaluations were pursued to determine if crosslinking with genipin could be used to create a tailorable point of care loaded sponge for local infection control. Crosslinking the chitosan sponges decreased degradation in phosphate-buffered saline from 4.48 ± 2.28 wt % remaining of the uncrosslinked sponges to 78.82 ± 1.15 and 73.87 ± 1.27 wt % remaining at week 1 for the genipin and PNIPAM/genipin crosslinked sponges, respectively. The PNIPAM/genipin crosslinked sponges exhibited the most sustained release of biologically active antibiotics, with an average antibiotic release 63% higher than uncrosslinked and 37% higher than genipin crosslinked sponges, after 96 h. No significant cytotoxic effects from sponges or eluates were exhibited with NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. These preliminary results indicate that genipin crosslinked chitosan sponges, with or without PNIPAM, have potential as local delivery systems for adjunctive therapy for infection control, especially when longer degradation periods and higher antibiotic elutions are desired.