Research Nugget

Collagen-Based Nanofibers for Skin Regeneration and Wound Dressing Applications

Wound management is challenging, particularly for chronic injuries. Despite the availability of various types of wound dressing scaffolds in the market, some of the wound dressings that are available have various drawbacks when it comes to wound healing and skin regeneration.

Research conducted by a team from the University of Fort Hare and partly funded by the NRF found that collagen-based nanofibers or nanofibrous scaffolds contain properties which are beneficial for wound healing and skin regeneration. Collagen is a biopolymer and a major constituent of the extracellular matrix (ECM) thus making it an interesting polymer for the development of wound dressings.

A review of a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments of skin regeneration and wound healing revealed that collagen-based nanofibers properties include high porosity, excellent gaseous diffusion, and moderate water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) to maintain a suitably moist environment for skin regeneration and wound healing, non-toxicity, excellent biocompatibility, and capability to stimulate high cell proliferation and adhesion rate.

In addition, collagen nanofibers can be encapsulated with therapeutic agents for enhanced biological activities. Most collagen nanofiber wound dressings displayed an initial rapid release of bioactive agents followed by slow and sustained drug release which resulted in good biological efficacy and the protection of the wound from microbial infections and oxidation reactions, demonstrating that these nanofibers can be very useful in the treatment of chronic wounds.

The full paper was published in the journal polymers and can be accessed here.