Chondroitin obtained through biotechnological processes (BC) shares similarities with both chondroitin sulfate (CS), due to the dimeric repetitive unit, and hyaluronic acid (HA), as it is unsulfated. In the framework of this experimental research, formulations containing BC with an average molecular size of about 35 KDa and high molecular weight HA (HHA) were characterized with respect to their rheological behavior, stability to enzymatic hydrolysis and they were evaluated in different skin damage models. The rheological characterization of the HHA/BC formulation revealed a G' of 92 ± 3 Pa and a G″ of 116 ± 5 Pa and supported an easy injectability even at a concentration of 40 mg/mL. HA/BC preserved the HHA fraction better than HHA alone. BTH was active on BC alone only at high concentration. Assays on scratched keratinocytes (HaCaT) monolayers showed that all the glycosaminoglycan formulations accelerated cell migration, with HA/BC fastening healing 2-fold compared to the control. In addition, in 2D HaCaT cultures, as well as in a 3D skin tissue model HHA/BC efficiently modulated mRNA and protein levels of different types of collagens and elastin remarking a functional tissue physiology. Finally, immortalized human fibroblasts were challenged with TNF-α to obtain an in vitro model of inflammation. Upon HHA/BC addition, secreted IL-6 level was lower and efficient ECM biosynthesis was re-established. Finally, co-cultures of HaCaT and melanocytes were established, showing the ability of HHA/BC to modulate melanin release, suggesting a possible effect of this specific formulation on the reduction of stretch marks. Overall, besides demonstrating the safety of BC, the present study highlights the potential beneficial effect of HHA/BC formulation in different damage dermal models.
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