Chitosan–cellulose Composite for Wound Dressing Material. Part 2. Antimicrobial Activity, Blood Absorption Ability, and Biocompatibility

April Harkins, Marquette University
Simon Duri, Marquette University
Luther Kloth, Marquette University
Chieu D. Tran, Marquette University

Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part B, Vol. 102, No. 6 (August 2014): 1199-1206. DOI.


Chitosan (CS), a polysaccharide derived from chitin, the second most abundant polysaccharide, is widely used in the medical world because of its natural and nontoxic properties and its innate ability for antibacterial and hemostasis effects. In this study, the novel composites containing CS and cellulose (CEL) (i.e., [CEL + CS]), which we have previously synthesized using a green and totally recyclable method, were investigated for their antimicrobial activity, absorption of anticoagulated whole blood, anti-inflammatory activity through the reduction of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the biocompatibility with human fibroblasts. The [CEL + CS] composites were found to inhibit the growth of both Gram positive and negative micro-organisms. For examples, the regenerated 100% lyophilized chitosan material was found to reduce growth of Escherichia coli (ATCC 8739 and vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 51299) by 78, 36, and 64%, respectively. The composites are nontoxic to fibroblasts; that is, fibroblasts, which are critical to the formation of connective tissue matrix were found to grow and proliferate in the presence of the composites. They effectively absorb blood, and at the same rate and volume as commercially available wound dressings. The composites, in both air-dried and lyophilized forms, significantly inhibit the production of TNF-α and IL-6 by stimulated macrophages. These results clearly indicate that the biodegradable, biocompatible and nontoxic [CEL + CS] composites, particularly those dried by lyophilizing, can be effectively used as a material in wound dressings.