Thermosensitive chitosan hydrogels containing sodium beta-glycerophosphate (β-GP), whose gelation is induced by increasing temperature to body temperature, were functionalized by incorporation of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), an enzyme involved in mineralization of bone. ALP incorporation led to acceleration of gelation upon increase of temperature for four different chitosan preparations of differing molecular weight, as demonstrated by rheometric time sweeps at 37. °C. Hydrogels containing ALP were subsequently incubated in calcium glycerophosphate (Ca-GP) solution to induce their mineralization with calcium phosphate (CaP) in order to improve their suitability as materials for bone replacement. Incorporated ALP retained its bioactivity and induced formation of CaP mineral, as confirmed by SEM, FTIR, Raman spectroscopy, XRD, ICP-OES, and increases in dry mass percentage, which rose with increasing ALP concentration and incubation time in Ca-GP solution. The results demonstrate that ALP accelerates formation of thermosensitive chitosan/β-GP hydrogels and induces their mineralization with CaP, which paves the way for applications as injectable bone replacement materials. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
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