Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are still a challenge for the field of modern medicine. Many treatment options such as autologous grafts and stem cells show limited promise for the treatment and the reversibility of damage caused by TBIs. Injury beyond the critical size necessitates the implementation of scaffolds that function as surrogate extracellular matrices. Two scaffolds were synthesised utilising polysaccharides, chitosan and hyaluronic acid in conjunction with gelatin. Both scaffolds were chemically crosslinked using a naturally derived crosslinker, Genipin. The polysaccharides increased the mechanical strength of each scaffold, while gelatin provided the bioactive sequence, which promoted cellular interactions. The effect of crosslinking was investigated, and the crosslinked hydrogels showed higher thermal decomposition temperatures, increased resistance to degradation, and pore sizes ranging from 72.789 ± 16.85 µm for the full interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) and 84.289 ± 7.658 μm for the semi-IPN. The scaffolds were loaded with Dexamethasone-21-phosphate to investigate their efficacy as a drug delivery vehicle, and the full IPN showed a 100% release in 10 days, while the semi-IPN showed a burst release in 6 h. Both scaffolds stimulated the proliferation of rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) and human glioblastoma multiforme (A172) cell cultures and also provided signals for A172 cell migration. Both scaffolds can be used as potential drug delivery vehicles and as artificial extracellular matrices for potential neural regeneration.
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