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Neutrophils exhibit distinct phenotypes toward chitosans with different degrees of deacetylation: implications for cartilage repair

Osteoarthritis is characterized by the progressive destruction of cartilage in the articular joints. Novel therapies that promote resurfacing of exposed bone in focal areas are of
interest in osteoarthritis because they may delay the progression of this disabling disease in patients who develop focal lesions. Recently, the addition of 80% deacetylated chitosan to cartilage microfractures was shown to promote the regeneration of hyaline cartilage. The molecular mechanisms by which chitosan promotes cartilage regeneration remain unknown. Because neutrophils are transiently recruited to the microfracture site, the effect of 80% deacetylated chitosan on the function of neutrophils was investigated. Most studies on neutrophils use preparations of chitosan with an uncertain degree of deacetylation. For therapeutic purposes, it is of interest to determine whether the degree of deacetylation influences the response of neutrophils to chitosan. The effect of 95% deacetylated chitosan on the function of neutrophils was therefore also investigated and compared with that of 80%
deacetylated chitosan.