Researchers develop sustained oxygen-delivering hydrogel that accelerates diabetic wound healing
USA: The delivery of sustained oxygen alone without using drugs can help in healing diabetic wounds, according to a recent study. The researchers developed a hydrogel that delivers oxygen to a wound, which decreases inflammation, helps remodel tissue, and accelerates healing. The research was performed on a mouse model.
The gel was developed by Jianjun Guan, a professor of mechanical engineering & materials science in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Ya Guan, a doctoral student, and Hong Niu, a postdoctoral research associate, both in Guan's lab, are co-first authors of the study.
About one-fourth of people with diabetes develop painful foot ulcers, which are slow to heal due to low oxygen in the wound from impaired blood vessels and increased inflammation. These wounds can become chronic, leading to poor quality of life and potential amputation.
Tissues in the body require oxygen to survive and need even more when tissue is injured. While there are several existing treatments for chronic wounds in people with diabetes, the most common treatment is dozens of sessions in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, but its effectiveness is inconsistent and includes the risk of oxygen toxicity.
Guan's hydrogel delivers oxygen to the wound using microspheres that gradually release oxygen to interact with the cells through an enzyme on their surface that converts what is inside of the microsphere into oxygen. The oxygen is delivered to the wound over about a two-week period, and inflammation and swelling decrease, promoting healing.
In the mice, wounds treated with the hydrogel containing the oxygen-releasing microspheres had a greater rate of closure than wounds treated with only the gel or those with no treatment. By day 16, the wounds treated with hydrogel had reduced to 10.7%. Those treated with the gel only were reduced to 30.4%, and those with no treatment had reduced to 52.2%.
The study titled, "Sustained oxygenation accelerates diabetic wound healing by promoting epithelialization and angiogenesis and decreasing inflammation," is published in the journal Science Advances.