Biocompatibility of chemically cross-linked gelatin hydrogels for ophthalmic use

Jui-Yang Lai
June 2010
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine;Jun2010, Vol. 21 Issue 6, p1899
Academic Journal
Biocompatibility is a major requirement for the development of functional biomaterials for ophthalmic applications. In this study, we investigated the effect of cross-linker functionality on ocular biocompatibility of chemically modified gelatin hydrogels. The test materials were cross-linked with glutaraldehyde (GTA) or 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl aminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC), and were analyzed using in vitro and in vivo assays. Primary rat iris pigment epithelial cultures were incubated with various gelatin discs for 2 days, and the cellular responses were monitored by cell proliferation, viability, and pro-inflammatory gene and cytokine expression. The results demonstrated that the cells exposed to EDC cross-linked gelatins had relatively lower lactate dehydrogenase activity, cytotoxicity, and interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α levels than did those to GTA treated samples. In addition, the gelatin implants were inserted in the anterior chamber of rabbit eyes for 12 weeks and characterized by clinical observations and scanning electron microscopy studies. The EDC cross-linked gelatin hydrogels exhibited good biocompatibility and were well tolerated without causing toxicity and adverse effects. However, a significant inflammatory reaction was elicited by the presence of GTA treated materials. It was noted that, despite its biocompatibility, the potential application of non-cross-linked gelatin for local delivery of cell and drug therapeutics would be limited due to rapid dissolution in aqueous environments. In conclusion, these findings suggest ocular cell/tissue response to changes in cross-linker properties. In comparison to GTA treatment, the EDC cross-linking is more suitable for preparation of chemically modified gelatin hydrogels for ophthalmic use.


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