The presence of reactive primary amines in the backbone structure of chitosan, enables the derivatisation with different functional groups and thereby improving and expanding its properties, such as solubility and mucoadhesiveness, for biomedical applications. Such derivatives can be exploited with good results in a number of biomedical areas, including enhancement of nucleic acid transfection in gene therapy, as well as many other applications aiming to maximize drug delivery and aiding tissue engineering. The aim of this review is to provide an up to date overview of the methods used for derivatizing the chitosan with amino acids and to discuss the characteristics and potential biomedical application of the different amino acid derivatized chitosans described in the literature. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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