Biocompatibility assessment of conducting PANI/Chitosan nanofibers for wound healing applications

As electroactive polymers have recently presented potential in applications in the tissue engineering and biomedical field, this study is aiming at the fabrication of composite nanofibrous membranes containing conducting polyaniline and at the evaluation of their biocompatibility. For that purpose, conducting polyaniline–chitosan (PANI/CS) defect free nanofibres of different ratios (1:3; 3:5 and 1:1) were produced with the electrospinning method. They were characterized as for their morphology, hydrophilicity and electrical conductivity. The membranes were then evaluated for their cellular biocompatibility in terms of cell attachment, morphology and cell proliferation. The effect of the PANI content on the membrane properties is discussed. Increase in PANI content resulted in membranes with higher hydrophobicity and higher electrical conductivity. It was found that none of the membranes showed any toxic effects on osteoblasts and fibroblasts, and that they all supported cell attachment and growth, even to a greater extent than tissue culture plastic. The membrane with the PANI/CS ratio 1:3 supports better cell attachment and proliferation for both cell lines due to a synergistic effect of hydrophilicity retention due to the high chitosan content and the conductivity that PANI introduced to the membrane.