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Multifunctional Copper-Containing Carboxymethyl Chitosan/Alginate Scaffolds for Eradicating Clinical Bacterial Infection and Promoting Bone Formation

Lu, Yao, Li, Lihua, Zhu, Ye, Wang, Xiaolan, Li, Mei, Lin, Zefeng, Hu, Xiaoming, Zhang, Yu, Yin, Qingshui, Xia, Hong, Mao, Chuanbin
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.1 pp. 127-138
Staphylococcus aureus, alginates, bacteria, bacterial infections, biocompatibility, bone formation, bones, calcium, cell adhesion, chitosan, copper, copper nanoparticles, crosslinking, freeze drying, gene expression, genes, in vitro studies, in vivo studies, ions, mineralization, non-specific protein-tyrosine kinase, pathogens, polymers
Repairing infected bone defects relies on a scaffold that can not only fill the defects to promote bone formation but also kill clinically present bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). To meet this demand, here, we develop a new copper (Cu) containing natural polymeric scaffold with a full potential for repairing infected bone defects. Instead of directly adding antibacterial Cu²⁺ ions to the polymer mixtures, which caused uncontrolled polymer cross-linking, we added Cu nanoparticles to the mixture of anionic carboxymethyl chitosan (CMC) and alginate (Alg). Then, the Cu²⁺ ions released from the Cu nanoparticles gradually cross-linked the polymer mixtures, which was further turned into a scaffold (CMC/Alg/Cu) with an interconnected porous structure by freeze-drying. We found that the CMC/Alg/Cu scaffolds showed significantly improved capabilities of osteogenesis and killing clinical bacteria compared to CMC/Alg scaffolds fabricated by the same procedure but without adding Cu nanoparticles. Specifically, in vitro studies showed that the CMC/Alg/Cu scaffolds with excellent biocompatibility could enhance preosteoblastic cell adhesion by upregulating the expression level of adhesion-related genes (focal adhesion kinase (FAK), paxillin (PXN), and vinculin (VCL)), promoting osteogenic differentiation and mineralization by upregulating the osteogenesis-related gene expression and extracellular calcium deposition. In vivo studies further demonstrated that CMC/Alg/Cu scaffolds could induce the formation of vascularized new bone tissue in 4 weeks while avoiding clinical bacterial infection even when the implantation sites were challenged with the clinically collected S. aureus bacteria. This work represents a facile and innovative approach to the fabrication of Cu containing polymer scaffolds that can potentially be used to repair infected bone defects.