© 2016 American Chemical Society. The formation of chitosan hydrogels without any external cross-linking agent was successfully achieved by inducing the gelation of a viscous chitosan solution with aqueous NaOH or gaseous NH3. The hydrogels produced from high molecular weight (Mw ≈ 640 000 g mol-1) and extensively deacetylated chitosan (DA ≈ 2.8%) at polymer concentrations above ∼2.0% exhibited improved mechanical properties due to the increase of the chain entanglements and intermolecular junctions. The results also show that the physicochemical and mechanical properties of chitosan hydrogels can be controlled by varying their polymer concentration and by controlling the gelation conditions, that is, by using different gelation routes. The biological evaluation of such hydrogels for regeneration of infarcted myocardium revealed that chitosan hydrogels prepared from 1.5% polymer solutions were perfectly incorporated onto the epicardial surface of the heart and presented partial degradation accompanied by mononuclear cell infiltration.