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Engineered Nanotechnology: An Effective Therapeutic Platform for the Chronic Cutaneous Wound

The healing of chronic wound infections, especially cutaneous wounds, involves a complex cascade of events demanding mutual interaction between immunity and other natural host processes. Wound infections are caused by the consortia of microbial species that keep on proliferating and produce various types of virulence factors that cause the development of chronic infections. The mono- or polymicrobial nature of surface wound infections is best characterized by its ability to form biofilm that renders antimicrobial resistance to commonly administered drugs due to poor biofilm matrix permeability. With an increasing incidence of chronic wound biofilm infections, there is an urgent need for non-conventional antimicrobial approaches, such as developing nanomaterials that have intrinsic antimicrobial-antibiofilm properties modulating the biochemical or biophysical parameters in the wound microenvironment in order to cause disruption and removal of biofilms, such as designing nanomaterials as efficient drug-delivery vehicles carrying antibiotics, bioactive compounds, growth factor antioxidants or stem cells reaching the infection sites and having a distinct mechanism of action in comparison to antibiotics—functionalized nanoparticles (NPs) for better incursion through the biofilm matrix. NPs are thought to act by modulating the microbial colonization and biofilm formation in wounds due to their differential particle size, shape, surface charge and composition through alterations in bacterial cell membrane composition, as well as their conductivity, loss of respiratory activity, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitrosation of cysteines of proteins, lipid peroxidation, DNA unwinding and modulation of metabolic pathways. For the treatment of chronic wounds, extensive research is ongoing to explore a variety of nanoplatforms, including metallic and nonmetallic NPs, nanofibers and self-accumulating nanocarriers. As the use of the magnetic nanoparticle (MNP)-entrenched pre-designed hydrogel sheet (MPS) is found to enhance wound healing, the bio-nanocomposites consisting of bacterial cellulose and magnetic nanoparticles (magnetite) are now successfully used for the healing of chronic wounds. With the objective of precise targeting, some kinds of “intelligent” nanoparticles are constructed to react according to the required environment, which are later incorporated in the dressings, so that the wound can be treated with nano-impregnated dressing material in situ. For the effective healing of skin wounds, high-expressing, transiently modified stem cells, controlled by nano 3D architectures, have been developed to encourage angiogenesis and tissue regeneration. In order to overcome the challenge of time and dose constraints during drug administration, the approach of combinatorial nano therapy is adopted, whereby AI will help to exploit the full potential of nanomedicine to treat chronic wounds.

Publication date: 25/02/2022

Author: Suhasini Mallick

Reference: doi: 10.3390/nano12050778

MDPI (nanomaterials)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.