Biocompatible and Biodegradable Ultrafine Fibrillar Scaffold Materials for Tissue Engineering by Facile Grafting of l-Lactide onto Chitosan

A chitosan derivative was prepared with good yields using a “one pot” approach by grafting l-lactide oligomers via ring opening polymerization. Side chains are primarily attached to hydroxyl groups located on carbons 3 and 6 of the glucosamine ring, while the amine group remains nonfunctionalized. By increasing the l-lactide to chitosan ratio, side chain length is controlled. This allows the manipulation of the biodegradation rate and hydrophilicity of the tissue engineering scaffold material. This general synthetic route renders functionalized chitosan soluble in a broad range of organic solvents, facilitating formation of ultrafine fibers via electrospinning. Cytotoxicity tests using fibroblasts (L929 cell line) performed on electrospun l-lactide modified chitosan fibers showed that the specimen with the highest molar ratio of l-lactide (1:24) investigated in this study is the most promising material for tissue engineering purposes, while less stable formulations might still find application in drug delivery vehicles.