Abstract: Chondroitin sulfates (CS) are a class of sulfated glycosaminoglycans involved in many biological processes. Several studies reported their protective effect against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. CS are commonly derived from animal sources, but ethical concerns, the risk of contamination with animal proteins, and the difficulty in controlling the sulfation pattern have prompted research towards non-animal sources. Here we exploited two microbiological-chemical sourced CS (i.e., CS-A,C and CS-A,C,K,L) and Carbopol 974P NF/agarose semi-interpenetrating polymer networks (i.e., P.NaOH.0 and P.Ethanol.0) to set up a release system, and tested the neuroprotective role of released CS against H2O2-induced oxidative stress. After assessing that our CS (1–100 µM) require a 3 h pre-treatment for neuroprotection with SH-SY5Y cells, we evaluated whether the autoclave type (i.e., N- or B-type) affects hydrogel viscoelastic properties. We selected B-type autoclaves and repeated the study after loading CS (1 or 0.1 mg CS/0.5 mL gel). After loading 1 mg CS/0.5 mL gel, we evaluated CS release up to 7 days by 1,9-dimethylmethylene blue (DMMB) assay and verified the neuroprotective role of CS-A,C (1 µM) in the supernatants. We observed that CS-A,C exhibits a broader neuroprotective effect than CS-A,C,K,L. Moreover, sulfation pattern affects not only neuroprotection, but also drug release.
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