Damage to the eardrum causes acute pain and can lead to chronic otitis media if it develops into chronic tympanic membrane (TM) perforations. Chronic TM perforations are usually treated with surgical methods such as tympanoplasty and myringoplasty. However, these surgeries are not only complicated and difficult but also cost a lot of money. Our research team developed chitosan patches (E-CPs) that release epidermal growth factor (EGF) as a patch therapy to replace surgical methods. However, there was a limitation in the healing ratio of the treatment compared to the surgical methods. In this study, we developed EGF and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene-releasing polyethyleneimine (PEI)/chitosan patches (EErP-CPs) to increase the regeneration of TM perforations. The addition of PEI increased the adhesion and migration ability of TM cells on the patches. The simultaneous release of the EGF and the EGFR gene further enhanced TM cell proliferation, adhesion and migratory ability. It was confirmed that the EGF protein and EGFR gene were released for 30 days: however, EGF was released and increased TM cell viability almost immediately after treatment and EGFR took a minimum of 3 days before showing its effect on improved cell viability. It was also shown that EErP-CPs are more hydrophilic and have more positive charge than E-CP because of added amine groups from PEI. In conclusion, the developed EErP-CPs resulted in the improved healing of TM perforations and can potentially be applied to the regeneration of both chronic and acute tympanic membrane perforations.
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