Perlecan and vascular endothelial growth factor-encoding DNA-loaded chitosan scaffolds promote angiogenesis and wound healing

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The repair of dermal wounds, particularly in the diabetic population, poses a significant healthcare burden. The impaired wound healing of diabetic wounds is attributed to low levels of endogenous growth factors, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), that normally stimulate multiple phases of wound healing. In this study, chitosan scaffolds were prepared via freeze drying and loaded with plasmid DNA encoding perlecan domain I and VEGF189 and analyzed in vivo for their ability to promote dermal wound healing. The plasmid DNA encoding perlecan domain I and VEGF189 loaded scaffolds promoted dermal wound healing in normal and diabetic rats. This treatment resulted in an increase in the number of blood vessels and sub-epithelial connective tissue matrix components within the wound beds compared to wounds treated with chitosan scaffolds containing control DNA or wounded controls. These results suggest that chitosan scaffolds containing plasmid DNA encoding VEGF189 and perlecan domain I have the potential to induce angiogenesis and wound healing.

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