Chitin and its deacetylated form, chitosan, have been widely used for tissue engineering of both epithelial and mesenchymal tissues. Epithelial cells characterised by their sheet-like tight cellular arrangement and polarised nature, constitute a major component in various organs and play a variety of roles including protection, secretion and maintenance of tissue homeostasis. Regeneration of damaged epithelial tissues has been studied using biomaterials such as chitin, chitosan, hyaluronan, gelatin and alginate. Chitin and chitosan are known to promote proliferation of various embryonic and adult epithelial cells. However it is not clearly understood how this activity is achieved or what are the mechanisms involved in the chitin/chitosan driven proliferation of epithelial cells. Mechanistic understanding of influence of chitin/chitosan on epithelial cells will guide us to develop more targeted regenerative scaffold/hydrogel systems. Therefore, current review attempts to elicit a mechanistic insight into how chitin and chitosan interact with salivary, mammary, skin, nasal, lung, intestinal and bladder epithelial cells.
S. Vijaykumar Patil and Dr. Lalitha Nanduri, “Interaction of Chitin/chitosan with Salivary and Other Epithelial Cells - An Overview”, Int J Biol Macromol, 2017.