The use of chitosan-based scaffolds to enhance regeneration in the nervous system

Int Rev Neurobiol. 2013;109:1-62. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420045-6.00001-8.


Various biomaterials have been proposed to build up scaffolds for promoting neural repair. Among them, chitosan, a derivative of chitin, has been raising more and more interest among basic and clinical scientists. A number of studies with neuronal and glial cell cultures have shown that this biomaterial has biomimetic properties, which make it a good candidate for developing innovative devices for neural repair. Yet, in vivo experimental studies have shown that chitosan can be successfully used to create scaffolds that promote regeneration both in the central and in the peripheral nervous system. In this review, the relevant literature on the use of chitosan in the nervous tissue, either alone or in combination with other components, is overviewed. Altogether, the promising in vitro and in vivo experimental results make it possible to foresee that time for clinical trials with chitosan-based nerve regeneration-promoting devices is approaching quickly.

Keywords: Biomedical application; Chitin; Chitosan; Peripheral nerve repair; Spinal cord repair; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology*
  • Chitosan / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration* / drug effects
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Chitosan