Gelatin/carboxymethyl chitosan/aloe juice hydrogels with skin-like endurance and quick recovery: Preparation, characterization, and properties

Int J Biol Macromol. 2024 Jan 29:129720. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2024.129720. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Gelatin-based hydrogels have gained considerable attention due to their resemblance to the extracellular matrix and hydrophilic three-dimensional network structure. Apart from providing an air-permeable and moist environment, these hydrogels optimize the inflammatory microenvironment of the wounds. These properties make gelatin-based hydrogels highly competitive in the field of wound dressings. In this study, a series of composite hydrogels were prepared using gelatin (Gel) and carboxymethyl chitosan (CMCh) as primary materials, glutaraldehyde as a crosslinker, and aloe vera juice as an anti-inflammatory component. The properties of the hydrogel, including its rheological properties, microscopic structures, mechanical properties, swelling ratios, thermal stability, antibacterial properties, and biocompatibility, were investigated. The results demonstrate that the gelatin-based hydrogels exhibit good elasticity and rapid self-healing ability. The hydrogels exhibited slight shear behavior, which is advantageous for skin care applications. Furthermore, the inclusion of aloe vera juice into the hydrogel resulted in a dense structure, improved mechanical properties and enhanced swelling ratio. The Gel/CMCh/Aloe hydrogels tolerate a compressive strength similar to that of human skin. Moreover, the hydrogels displayed excellent cytocompatibility with HFF-1 cells, and exhibited antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus. Lomefloxacin was used as a model drug to study the releasing behavior of the Gel/CMCh/aloe hydrogels. The results showed that the drug was released rapidly at the initial stage, and could continue to be released for 12 h, the maximum releasing rate exceeded 20 %. These findings suggest that the gelatin-based hydrogels hold great promise as effective wound dressings.

Keywords: Aloe vera juice; Carboxymethyl chitosan; Gelatin; Hydrogels.