Ultra thin hydro-films based on lactose-crosslinked fish gelatin for wound healing applications

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This study focuses on the development and characterization of an ultra thin hydro-film based on lactose-mediated crosslinking of fish gelatin by Maillard reaction. Lactose results in the only efficient crosslinker able to produce resistant to handling hydro-films when compared to conventional crosslinkers such as glutaraldehyde or genipin (tested at 25 and 37 °C in phosphate buffer saline solution (PBS)).The disappearance of the peak related to the N-containing groups (XPS) and the images obtained by SEM and AFM demonstrate the highly ordered nano-scaled structure of lactose-crosslinked gelatin, confirming the crosslinking efficiency. This dressing presents high hydrophilicity and mild occlusivity, as shown by the swelling curve (max swelling at 5 min) and by the occlusion factor of 25.17 ± 0.99%, respectively. It demonstrates high stability to hydrolysis or cell-mediated degradation. Moreover, ISO 10993–5:2009 biocompatibility assay results in undetectable cytotoxicity effects. Spreading, adhesion and proliferation assays confirm the excellent adaptability of the cells onto the hydro-film surface without invading the dressing. Finally, the hydro-film enables the controlled delivery of therapeutic factors, such as the epidermal growth factor (EGF). This study demonstrates that lactose-mediated crosslinking is able to produce ultra thin gelatin hydro-films with suitable properties for biomedical applications, such as wound healing.

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