BackgroundCellulose and its derivatives such as carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) have been employed as a biomaterial for their diverse applications such as tissue engineering, drug delivery and other medical materials. Porosity of the scaffolds has advantages in their applications to tissue engineering such as more cell adhesion and migration leading to better tissue regeneration. After synthesis of CMC-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) hydrogel by mixing the solutions of both CMC-acrylate and PEO-hexa-thiols, fabrication and evaluation of a CMC-PEO gel and its film in porous form have been made for its possible applications to tissue regeneration. Physicochemical and biological properties of both CMC-PEO hydrogel and porous films have been evaluated by using physicochemical assays by SEM, FTIR and swelling behaviors as well as in vitro assays of MTT, Neutral red, BrdU, gel covering and tissue ingrowth into the pores of the CMC-PEO gel films. Degradation of CMC-PEO hydrogel was also evaluated by treating with esterase over time.ResultsChemical grafting of acrylate to CMC was verified by analyses of both FTIR and NMR. CMC-PEO hydrogel was obtained by mixing two precursor polymer solutions of CMC-acrylate and PEO-hexa-thiols and by transforming into a porous CMC-PEO gel film by gas forming of ammonium bicarbonate particles. The fabricated hydrogel has swollen in buffer to more than 6 times and degraded by esterase. The results of in vitro assays of live and dead, MTT, BrdU, Neutral red and gel covering on the cells showed excellent cell compatibility of CMC-PEO hydrogel and porous gel films. Furthermore the porous films showed excellent in vitro adhesion and migration of cells into their pore channels as observed by H&E and MT stains.ConclusionsBoth CMC-PEO hydrogel and porous gel films showed excellent biocompatibility and were expected to be a good candidate scaffold for tissue engineering.