Scholars have developed nanofiber hydrogels to promote wound healing

Recently, the team of Professor Wang Xiaoying of South China University of Technology, Associate Professor Zhang Huantian of the First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University and Professor Zha Zhengang’s team developed a collagen fibrillary injectable hydrogel with low hardness, high compressive strength, anti-swelling, drug-loaded and biodegradable by using the strategy of self-assembly and chemical cross-linking. The results were published in Bioactive Materials.

Schematic diagram of preparation and application of HML nanocomposite hydrogel. Photo courtesy of the research team

In daily life, clinical surgery and war, wound healing caused by severe trauma is crucial, so the development of new hydrogel wound dressings has become a research hotspot today.

Wang Xiaoying, the corresponding author of the paper, said that the study used the self-assembly between methacrylylated hydroxypropyl chitosan (HM) and lithium saponite (LAP) to form nanoparticles, and then prepared an injectable, soft and tough, and anti-swelling nanofiber hydrogel by photocrosslinking between particles to promote wound healing.

In vitro and in vitro experiments show that the hydrogel has good biocompatibility and biodegradability. Wound healing experiments in mice showed that compared with the control group (65.2%), the gel treatment group achieved a healing rate of 90.8% on day 7 and complete healing on day 11. Histological analysis showed that the hydrogel dressing accelerated wound healing by accelerating cell migration and promoting neovascularization and maturation.

To make this novel hydrogel, HM and LAP first self-assemble into nanoparticles by electrostatic and hydrogen bonding, and then further crosslink with each other by photocrosslinking to form a collagen-like fibrous network, obtaining a flexible hydrogel. Due to the restriction of molecular chain movement caused by self-assembly and the synergistic effect of HM amphiphilicity, nanocomposite hydrogels exhibit significant anti-swelling behavior in different solvents.

In addition, nanocomposite hydrogels can be processed into three-dimensional printed microgels with high shape fidelity, so they are expected to become biomaterials with large size and complex structures. At the same time, HM2L5 hydrogels and microgels exhibit high biocompatibility in vitro, and also have excellent wound healing ability and biodegradability in vivo.

Zhang Huantian, co-corresponding author of the paper, said that the above results jointly prove the great potential of this new biomimetic hydrogel in various soft tissue engineering applications such as wound dressings, and provide a general strategy for the development of biomimetic nanofiber soft hydrogel and the rapid healing of perioperative incisions and wounds, which has clinical transformation significance and value. (Source: China Science News Zhu Hanbin)

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