Discover natural polysaccharide-based bioadhesives for wound repair

Recently, the reporter learned from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, that Wu Mingyi, a national key experimental researcher in phytochemistry and sustainable utilization of plant resources in western China, discovered a natural polysaccharide-based bioadhesive that can be used for wound repair, and the relevant results were published online in Nature-Communications.

Every year, hundreds of millions of people suffer from accidental injuries, surgical injuries, chronic ulcers and other skin tissue damage, which are life-threatening in severe cases, and sutures are currently the preferred method of clinical wound closure. The invention of tissue adhesives has brought great technological progress to surgery, and the tissue adhesives widely used in clinical practice are mainly chemically synthesized cyanoacrylate and fibrin glues. Cyanoacrylate adhesives have strong adhesion properties, but have disadvantages such as slow degradation and toxic side effects. Fibrin binders have good biohistocompatibility, but due to weak adhesion, they are applied to some tissue areas with less local stress, and the application range is limited. Therefore, there is an urgent clinical need for tissue adhesives with good biocompatibility, high adhesion and low potential risk.

Wu’s team focused on key scientific questions about the structure and function of natural polysaccharides, and found that the abdominal feet of white jade snails are rich in regularly structured heparin glycosaminoglycans, which can significantly promote the healing of chronic diabetic wounds.

Recently, the research group found a natural polysaccharide-based adhesive (d-SMG) from the mucus of white jade snail, which has strong adhesion to wet tissues, which is better than the fibrin glue used in clinical practice. In order to elucidate the intrinsic mechanism of d-SMG gum formation and adhesion, the research group further systematically identified and analyzed the components, and found that d-SMG was mainly composed of heparin-like snail glycosaminoglycans and snail proteins and other biological macromolecules, of which the new glycosaminoglycans were its main effective active components. The unique double-network gel system composed of polysaccharides and proteins gives snail mucus outstanding hydrogel properties and strong tissue adhesion. This mechanism is significantly different from the adhesion mechanism of mussels, which also belong to mollusks, and is an interesting and important discovery in the field of biological adhesion, which provides reference and inspiration for the development of a new generation of medical adhesives.

Animal studies have shown that the natural adhesive d-SMG strongly adheres to longitudinal skin wounds and promotes their healing without causing secondary damage and scarring. Compared to sodium alginate dressings commonly used in clinical practice, this natural adhesive effectively promotes wound healing in chronic diabetes. Tissue staining and immunohistochemistry showed that natural hydrogel significantly accelerated granulation tissue neogenesis, angiogenesis and collagen deposition in chronic wounds, and significantly downregulated the expression levels of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-6 in tissues. In-depth mechanistic studies revealed that by upregulating the phosphorylation level of signaling and transcriptional activating protein 3, the hydrogel promoted the polarization of macrophages to the anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype, alleviated the inflammatory response at the chronic wound, and promoted the transition from chronic wound to the proliferative stage, thereby accelerating wound healing.

d-SMG promotes skin wound healing in diabetic rats (Photo courtesy of Kunming Botany)

The results of this study have certain enlightening significance for the development of a new generation of biomedical adhesives, and also provide a new idea for the treatment of common skin wounds and skin diseases such as diabetic foot ulcers that are clinically difficult to cure. This natural medical adhesive for healing skin wounds has applied for invention patent protection (CN114668887A). (Source: China Science News, Gao Yali)

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