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The aim of this work was to compare biomedical potential of chitosan/hydroxyapatite (chit/HA) and novel chitosan/β-1,3-glucan/hydroxyapatite (chit/glu/HA) materials as scaffolds for bone regeneration via characterization of their biocompatibility, porosity, mechanical properties, and water uptake behaviour. Biocompatibility of the scaffolds was assessed in direct-contact with the materials using normal human foetal osteoblast cell line. Cytotoxicity and osteoblast proliferation rate were evaluated. Porosity was assessed using computed microtomography analysis and mechanical properties were determined by compression testing.
Obtained results demonstrated that chit/HA scaffold possessed significantly better mechanical properties (compressive strength: 1.23 MPa, Young's modulus: 0.46 MPa) than chit/glu/HA material (compressive strength: 0.26 MPa, Young's modulus: 0.25 MPa). However, addition of bacterial β-1,3-glucan to the chit/HA scaffold improved its flexibility and porosity. Moreover, chit/glu/HA scaffold revealed significantly higher water uptake capability (52.6% after 24 h of soaking) compared to the chit/HA (30.7%) and thus can serve as a very good drug delivery carrier. Chit/glu/HA scaffold was also more favourable to osteoblast survival (near 100% viability after 24-h culture), proliferation, and spreading compared to the chit/HA (63% viability). The chit/glu/HA possesses better biomedical potential than chit/HA scaffold. Nevertheless, poor mechanical properties of the chit/glu/HA limit its application to non-load bearing implantation area.