Could chitosan-containing hydrogel wound dressings reduce the risk of infection?

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A recent study published in Radiation Physics and Chemistry has reported a novel hydrogel wound dressing that utilizes the antibacterial properties of chitosan and could potentially be utilized to help prevent the increasing spread of antimicrobial resistance.

In this study, researchers at the Lodz University of Technology (Poland) combined both chitosan and hydrogel dressings by irradiation.

Well-known for its antimicrobial properties, chitosan must first be isolated and purified from the substance chitin, which is extracted from the shells of crustaceans. Hydrophilic polymers were first cross-linked next to water to create the hydrogel dressing. This one step both sterilizes and creates a firm and durable dressing structuring.

After this step, researchers then exposed an electron beam at the polymer containing a solution of chitosan in lactic acid, allowing the chitosan to become a part of the hydrogel dressing.

“We developed a composition where chitosan is dissolved in lactic acid and, when added to the regular composition of the dressing, it does not adversely change its ability to cross-link during manufacturing or alter its mechanical and functional properties. The new hydrogel wound dressing is biologically active,” explained Radoslaw Wach, an author of this study.

This novel dressing could be a replacement for the classic hydrogel dressing, as it has the potential to lower the risk of bacterial infection whilst the hydrogel works to both speed up the overall healing process and cool the wound down.

“Since wound healing in severe cases may take a long time – up to several weeks – the probability of bacteria-mediated infection is high. Our novel hydrogel dressing could, therefore, prevent many such infections and avoid serious complications,” commented Wach.

Wach concluded by highlighting the importance of his groups’ findings: “If our solution is commercialized, tens of thousands of infections could be prevented each year.”

Sources: Mozalewska W, Czechowska-Biskup R, Olejnik AK, Wach RA, Ulański P, Rosiak JM. Chitosan-containing hydrogel wound dressings prepared by radiation technique. Radiat. Phys. Chem. doi:10.1016/j.radphyschem.2017.01.003 (2017) (Epub ahead of print); www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/e-naw050117.php

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