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Injectable hydrogel made from antler mesenchyme matrix for regenerative wound healing via creating a fetal-like niche

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BACKGROUND

Scar formation and loss of cutaneous appendages are the greatest challenges in cutaneous wound healing. Previous studies have indicated that antler reserve mesenchyme (RM) cells and their conditioned medium improved regenerative wound healing with partial recovery of cutaneous appendages.

AIM

To develop hydrogels from the antler RM matrix (HARM) and evaluate the effect on wound healing.

METHODS

We prepared the hydrogels from the HARM via enzymatic solubilization with pepsin. Then we investigated the therapeutic effects of HARM on a full-thickness cutaneous wound healing rat model using both local injections surrounding the wound and topical wound application.

RESULTS

The results showed that HARM accelerated wound healing rate and reduced scar formation. Also, HARM stimulated the regeneration of cutaneous appendages and blood vessels, and reduced collagen fiber aggregation. Further study showed that these functions might be achieved via creating a fetal-like niche at the wound site. The levels of fetal wound healing-related genes, including Collagen III and TGFβ3 treated with HARM were all increased, while the expression levels of Collagen I, TGFβ1, and Engrailed 1 were decreased in the healing. Moreover, the number of stem cells was increased in the fetal-like niche created by HARM, which may contribute to the regeneration of cutaneous appendages.

CONCLUSION

Overall, we successfully developed an injectable hydrogel made from antler RM matrix for the regenerative repair of full-thickness cutaneous wounds. We uncovered the molecular mechanism of the hydrogels in promoting regenerative wound healing, and thus pave the way for HARM to be developed for the clinic use.

Key Words: Hydrogel, Antler reserve mesenchyme, Regenerative wound healing, Fetal-like niche

Core Tip: Our study developed an injectable hydrogel made from antler reserve mesenchyme (a tissue suitable for stem cells) matrix for the regenerative repair of full-thickness cutaneous wounds. Moreover, we uncovered the molecular mechanism of the hydrogels in promoting regenerative wound healing, and thus pave the way for HARM to be developed for the clinic use.





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