Biological performance of a promising Kefiran-biopolymer with potential in regenerative medicine applications: a comparative study with hyaluronic acid

  • Hajer Radhouani
  • Cristiana Gonçalves
  • F. Raquel Maia
  • Joaquim M. Oliveira
  • Rui L. Reis
Biomaterials Synthesis and Characterization Original Research
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biomaterials Synthesis and Characterization


Kefiran from kefir grains, an exopolysaccharide (EPS) produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB), has received an increasing interest because of its safe status. This natural biopolymer is a water-soluble glucogalactan with probed health-promoting properties. However, its biological performance has yet to be completely recognized and properly exploited. This research was carried out to evaluate the in vitro antioxidant and the in vitro anti-inflammatory properties of Kefiran biopolymer. Regarding antioxidant activity, the results demonstrated that the Kefiran extract possessed the strongest reducing power and superoxide radical scavenging, over hyaluronic acid (HA, gold standard viscosupplementation treatment). This exopolysaccharide showed a distinct antioxidant performance in the majority of in vitro working mechanisms of antioxidant activity comparing to HA. Moreover, Kefiran presented an interesting capacity to scavenge nitric oxide radical comparing to the gold standard that did not present any potency. Finally, the cytotoxic effects of Kefiran extracts on hASCs were also performed and demonstrated no cytotoxic response, ability to improve cellular function of hASCs. This study demonstrated that Kefiran represented a great scavenger for reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and showed also that it could be an excellent candidate to promote tissue repair and regeneration.



Hajer Radhouani, Cristiana Gonçalves and F. Raquel Maia were supported by grants with reference SFRH/BPD/100957/2014, SFRH/BPD/94277/2013 and SFRH/BPD/117492/2016, respectively of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) from Portugal. JM Oliveira also would like to thank FCT for the fund provided under the program Investigador FCT 2015 (IF/01285/2015).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.3B’s Research Group, I3Bs – Research Institute on Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia, Zona Industrial da GandraUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal
  2. 2.ICVS/3B’s–PT Government Associate LaboratoryBraga/GuimarãesPortugal
  3. 3.The Discoveries Centre for Regenerative and Precision MedicineHeadquarters at University of Minho, AveparkGuimarãesPortugal

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