Inhibition of Skin Wound Contraction by Nanofibrillar Cellulose Hydrogel

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Background:Although wound contraction is an essential part of healing, excessive contraction can compromise healing through induction of scarring and fibrosis. This in turn leads to development of wound contractures that limit elasticity and function. Major research efforts have focused on development of novel therapeutic approaches to gain inhibitory control over wound contraction. Despite these efforts, the need for cost-effective, clinically feasible, and effective agents to inhibit wound contraction remains.Methods:In this study, the authors investigated the effect of nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel on wound contraction both in vitro and in vivo. Two different porcine full-thickness wounds (8-mm punch-biopsy wounds and 4 × 4-cm wounds covered with a 1:3-meshed split-thickness skin graft) were treated with or without nanofibrillar cellulose or carboxymethylcellulose (Purilon hydrogel), which was used as a reference treatment. Wound contraction was observed macroscopically, and histologic sections were taken at 14-day follow-up.Results:Nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel inhibited 70 percent of punch-biopsy wound contraction, whereas the carboxymethylcellulose hydrogel was ineffective. Importantly, application of nanofibrillar cellulose on split-thickness skin grafts did not inhibit epithelialization of the interstices or cell migration from the graft.Conclusion:The authors’ results, although preliminary, indicate a potential for nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel as a novel material for controlling excessive wound contraction.

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