Injectable metronidazole-eluting gelatin-alginate hydrogels for local treatment of periodontitis

Merav Zussman, Meital Zilberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Infection of the periodontal pocket presents two major challenges for drug delivery: administration into the periodontal pocket and a high fluid clearance rate in the pocket. The current study aimed to develop and study a novel hydrogel system for delivery of the antibiotic drug metronidazole directly into the periodontal pocket via injection followed by in situ gelation. The natural polymers gelatin and alginate served as basic materials, and their crosslinking using a carbodiimide resulted in a dual hydrogel network. The study focused on the effects of the hydrogel’s formulation parameters on the drug release profile and the hydrogel’s physical and mechanical properties. A cell viability test was conducted on human fibroblasts. The metronidazole-loaded hydrogels demonstrated a decreasing release rate with time, where most of the drug eluted within 24 h. These hydrogels exhibited fibroblast viability of at least 75% after 24 and 48 h, indicating that they are highly biocompatible. Although the alginate concentration used in this study was relatively low, it had a strong effect on the physical as well as the mechanical properties of the hydrogel. An increase in the alginate concentration increased the crosslinking rate and enabled enhanced entanglement of the 3D structure, resulting in a decrease in the gelation time (less than 10 s) and swelling degree, which are both desired for the studied periodontal application. Increasing the gelatin concentration without changing the crosslinker concentration resulted in significant changes in the physical properties and slight changes in the mechanical properties. Metronidazole incorporation slightly decreased the hydrophilicity of the hydrogel and therefore also its viscosity, and affected the sealing ability and the tensile and compression moduli. The developed hydrogels exhibited controllable mechanical and physical properties, can target a wide range of conditions, and are therefore of high significance in the field of periodontal treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-179
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Metronidazole release
  • alginate
  • antibiotic release
  • hydrogel, gelatin


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