Background: Stimulus-responsive devices have emerged as a novel approach for local drug delivery. This study investigates the feasibility of a novel chitosan-based, pH-responsive hydrogel loaded with N-phenacylthiazolium bromide (PTB), which cleaves the crosslinks of advanced glycation end products on the extracellular matrix. Methods: A chitosan-based hydrogel loaded with PTB was fabricated, and the in vitro release profile was evaluated within pH 5.5 to 7.4. BALB/cJ mice and Sprague-Dawley rats were used to evaluate the effects during the induction and recovery phases of periodontitis, respectively, and animals in each phase were divided into four groups: 1) no periodontitis induction; 2) ligature-induced experimental periodontitis (group PR); 3) experimental periodontitis plus hydrogel without PTB (group PH); and 4) experimental periodontitis plus hydrogel with PTB (group PP). The therapeutic effects were evaluated by micro-computed tomographic imaging of periodontal bone level (PBL) loss and histomorphometry for inflammatory cell infiltration and collagen density. Results: PTB was released faster at pH 5.5 to 6.5 and consistently slower at pH 7.4. In the induction phase, PBL and inflammatory cell infiltration were significantly reduced in group PP relative to group PR, and the loss of collagen matrix was significantly reduced relative to that observed in group PH. In the recovery phase, PBL and inflammatory cell infiltration were significantly reduced, and significantly greater collagen deposition was noted in group PP relative to groups PR and PH at 4 and 14 days after silk removal. Conclusion: Chitosan-based, pH-responsive hydrogels loaded with PTB can retard the initiation of and facilitate the recovery from experimental periodontitis.
- N-phenacylthiazolium bromide