Ashley Cox Parker, James Keaton Smith, Benjamin Reves, Jessica Amber Jennings, Joel D. Bumgardner and Warren O. Haggard
Chitosan sponges were developed for adjunctive local antibiotic delivery to reduce bacteria in wounds. There is a need to increase sponge degradation for rapid clearance from the wound site during initial wound care. This work examined the effect of using 0.25 M sodium acetate buffers, at pH 4.6 or 5.6, to fabricate sponges with an amorphous chitosan polymer structure. Sponges were evaluated for their crystallinity, thermal, spectroscopic, and morphological properties, in addition to in vitro degradation, and cytocompatibility analysis using normal human dermal fibroblasts. In vivo degradation and biocompatibility were also examined after 4 and 10 days in rat intramuscular tissues. Both buffered chitosan sponge variations exhibited decreases in crystallinity and thermal decomposition temperatures, and increases in surface roughness, which resulted in over 40% increases in degradation over 10 days in vitro compared to the neutral sponges. There were no significant differences between sponges during in vivo degradation over 10 days with respect to histomorphometric analysis of the recovered sponges. These results demonstrated that the acetate buffer did change characteristic chitosan sponge material properties, and increasing the in vivo sponge degradation rate will require balancing material characteristics and processing.