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Custom-designed wound dressing films of chitosan and alginate have been prepared by a casting/solvent evaporation method for hydrophobic therapeutic agent encapsulation. In this parametric study, the propylene glycol (PG) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) concentrations were varied for chitosan and alginate films, respectively. Mechanical and chemical inter-related responses under observations included thickness (th), elasticity (E), tensile strength (TS), sorption ability (S%) and kinetics of in-vitro drug release, specifically in terms of membrane time to burst (tB) and duration of release (tR). As shown by results of a one tailed t-test significance testing at the 95% confidence interval (α = 0.05), alginate films were significantly more elastic (p = 0.003), thinner (p = 0.004) and more susceptible to osmotic burst (p = 0.011) and characterized by a longer duration of release (p = 0.03). Meanwhile chitosan films exhibited superior moisture permeability (p = 0.006) and sorption characteristics (p = 0.001), indicative of higher hydrophilicity. There were no significant differences in tensile strength (p = 0.324) for alginate and chitosan-based formulations. Preliminary testing was conducted using 0.71 μm in diameter microspheres for modeling film dissolution into Lactated Ringer’s solution. Experimental release profiles were modeled for each film from which the average release from alginate films (MAGCa = 81%) was estimated to be twice the percentage associated with chitosan films (MCD = 42%). The film comprised of 2.5% (w/v) medium MW chitosan/dextran 70 kDa (5:1) was selected for studying the release of 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) as a model hydrophobic drug. Diffusion coupled with film disintegration is immediate (tB = 0) in case of encapsulated 5-FU as compared to the control film encapsulating microspheres characterized by tB = 70 min ± 7 min. This shift in release profile and the ability to modulate the timing of membrane burst can be attributed to the approximate ratio (1: 505) in molecular size between drug and microsphere. This hypothesis has been validated by the film pore size measured to be 430 nm ± 88 nm using atomic force microscopy.


Copyright © Mobed-Miremadi et al.; licensee Springer. 2013
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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