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Lactose-crosslinked fish gelatin-based porous scaffolds embedded with tetrahydrocurcumin for cartilage regeneration

Etxabide, A., Ribeiro, R.D.C., Guerrero, P., Ferreira, A.M., Stafford, G.P., Dalgarno, K., de la Caba, K., Gentile, P.
International journal of biological macromolecules 2018 v.117 pp. 199-208
Staphylococcus aureus, antibacterial properties, biochemical pathways, cartilage, cell viability, chondrocytes, crosslinking, curcumin, fish, freeze drying, gelatin, heat treatment, in vitro studies, lactose, manufacturing, metabolites, porosity, scanning electron microscopy, water uptake
Tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) is one of the major colourless metabolites of curcumin and shows even greater pharmacological and physiological benefits. The aim of this work was the manufacturing of porous scaffolds as a carrier of THC under physiological conditions. Fish-derived gelatin scaffolds were prepared by freeze-drying by two solutions concentrations (2.5% and 4% w/v), cross-linked via addition of lactose and heat-treated at 105 °C. This cross-linking reaction resulted in more water resistant scaffolds with a water uptake capacity higher than 800%. Along with the cross-linking reaction, the gelatin concentration affected the scaffold morphology, as observed by scanning electron microscopy images, by obtaining a reduced porosity but larger pores sizes when the initial gelatin concentration was increased. These morphological changes led to a scaffold's strength enhancement from 0.92 ± 0.22 MPa to 2.04 ± 0.18 MPa when gelatin concentration was increased. THC release slowed down when gelatin concentration increased from 2.5 to 4% w/v, showing a controlled profile within 96 h. Preliminary in vitro test with chondrocytes on scaffolds with 4% w/v gelatin offered higher metabolic activities and cell survival up to 14 days of incubation. Finally the addition of THC did not influence significantly the cytocompatibility and potential antibacterial properties were demonstrated successfully against Staphylococcus aureus.