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Review
, 20 (23)

Chitosan as a Wound Dressing Starting Material: Antimicrobial Properties and Mode of Action

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Review

Chitosan as a Wound Dressing Starting Material: Antimicrobial Properties and Mode of Action

Mariana Adina Matica et al. Int J Mol Sci.

Abstract

Fighting bacterial resistance is one of the concerns in modern days, as antibiotics remain the main resource of bacterial control. Data shows that for every antibiotic developed, there is a microorganism that becomes resistant to it. Natural polymers, as the source of antibacterial agents, offer a new way to fight bacterial infection. The advantage over conventional synthetic antibiotics is that natural antimicrobial agents are biocompatible, non-toxic, and inexpensive. Chitosan is one of the natural polymers that represent a very promising source for the development of antimicrobial agents. In addition, chitosan is biodegradable, non-toxic, and most importantly, promotes wound healing, features that makes it suitable as a starting material for wound dressings. This paper reviews the antimicrobial properties of chitosan and describes the mechanisms of action toward microbial cells as well as the interactions with mammalian cells in terms of wound healing process. Finally, the applications of chitosan as a wound-dressing material are discussed along with the current status of chitosan-based wound dressings existing on the market.

Keywords: antimicrobial properties; chitosan; mechanism of action; wound dressing; wound healing.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Schematic representation of five basic mechanisms of antibiotic action against microbial cells.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Proposed interactions between chitosan and the bacterial cell wall. Electrostatic interaction between positively charged chitosan molecules and negatively charged lipopolysaccharides (Gram-negative bacteria) and teichoic acids (Gram-positive bacteria) may lead to the blocking of intra/extracellular exchanges or even cell wall disruption and, finally, leakage of cytoplasmic content.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Schematic representation of chitosan mode of action on a Candida albicans cell. The fungal cell surface is negatively charged due to the carbohydrate side chains of mannoproteins, mainly sialic acids. Cationic chitosan molecules can cause ionic interactions with anionic groups and destabilize the cell wall. Other mechanisms of action proposed in the literature are metal chelation, enzyme denaturation, and chitosan interaction with phosphate groups of nucleic acids, all causing growth inhibition or even microbial death.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Influence of degree of acetylation (DA) on chitosan physico-chemical and biological properties.

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