Wound healing is a major burden of healthcare systems worldwide and hydrogel dressings offer a moist environment conducive to healing. We describe cysteine-containing ultrashort peptides that self-assemble spontaneously into hydrogels. After disulfide crosslinking, the optically-transparent hydrogels became significantly stiffer and exhibited high shape fidelity. The peptide sequence (LIVAGKC or LK6C) was then chosen for evaluation on mice with full-thickness excision wounds. Crosslinked LK6C hydrogels are handled easily with forceps during surgical procedures and offer an improvement over our earlier study of a non-crosslinked peptide hydrogel for burn wounds. LK6C showed low allergenic potential and failed to provoke any sensitivity when administered to guinea pigs in the Magnusson-Kligman maximization test. When applied topically as a dressing, the medium-infused LK6C hydrogel accelerated re-epithelialization compared to controls. The peptide hydrogel is thus safe for topical application and promotes a superior rate and quality of wound healing.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank Declan Lunny (Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore) for valuable discussions and the blind scoring of tissues. This work was supported by the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Biomedical Research Council, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore).