Bioactive peptide nanofibers for acceleration of burn wound healing
Burn injuries are one of the most typical types of trauma worldwide, and the unique physiology of burn injuries requires the use of specialized therapeutic materials for treatment and makes the development of such materials especially challenging. Here, we report the use of synthetic, functional and biodegradable peptide nanofiber gels for improved healing of burn wounds to alleviate the progressive loss of tissue function at the post-burn wound site. These bioactive nanofiber gels form scaffolds which recapitulate the morphology and function of the natural extracellular matrix through peptide epitopes, which can trigger angiogenesis through significant affinity to basic growth factors. In this study, the angiogenesis-promoting properties of the bioactive scaffolds were utilized for the treatment of thermal burn model. Following the excision of necrotic tissue, bioactive gels and control solutions were applied topically onto the wound area. The wound healing process was evaluated at 7, 14 and 21 days following injury through histological observations, immunostaining and marker RNA / protein analysis. Bioactive peptide nanofiber treated burn wounds formed well-organized and collagen-rich granulation tissue layers, developed a greater density of newly formed blood vessels, and exhibited increased re-epithelialization and skin appendage formation with minimal crust formation. Overall, the heparin-mimetic peptide nanofiber gels increased the rate of repair of burn injuries and can be used as effective means of facilitating wound healing.