Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed reduced graphene oxide loaded nanocomposite scaffolds for treating normal and diabetic wounds.
Wounds in diabetic patients do not heal as rapidly as it would in a normal and healthy individual, which leads to chronic non-healing wounds that can result in serious complications. Treatment of such chronic non-healing wounds in diabetes is still a major clinical challenge. Although there are some wound dressings that are commercially available, they are very expensive.
This work by the IIT Madras team focuses on developing low-cost wound dressings that are effective in treating diabetic wounds. The researchers have developed an efficient and rapid technique for preparing reduced graphene oxide from graphite powder.
The team stated: “We wanted to exploit graphene-based materials’ property of improving blood vessel formation at certain concentrations to prepare an inexpensive wound dressing. The psyllium-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite that we prepared has shown exciting results in animal studies. We hope this is the first step towards developing inexpensive wound dressings using graphene-based materials for clinical use.”
The researchers used a convex lens to focus sunlight on graphene oxide to obtain reduced graphene oxide. Then, they loaded the rGO dispersion into a plant carbohydrate polymer (psyllium) solution to obtain wound dressing scaffolds. Fibroblast cells, responsible for wound healing, are used to evaluate the toxicity and bioactivity of these scaffolds on the cell attachment, migration and proliferation. These newly developed scaffolds provide a suitable tissue-friendly environment for the cells and subsequently improve cell proliferation and attachment.
The wound healing efficacy of these scaffolds was studied, and the results revealed that they provided an ideal environment for the regrowth of damaged skin through proliferated fibroblast cells on the injured site. Histopathology and immunohistochemistry analyses showed that these scaffolds treatment enhanced new blood vessels formation, collagen synthesis and deposition in treated wounds.
Overall, the research shows that these wound dressings could significantly accelerate healing of normal and diabetic wounds. The normal wounds treated with the dressings healed in 16 days compared to 23 days in untreated normal wounds. Similarly, the diabetic wounds treated with the dressings healed in 20 days compared to 26 days in untreated diabetic wounds. These scaffolds are easy to prepare, inexpensive, and show excellent healing properties. Thus, the material acts as a good wound dressing and helps in accelerated healing of normal and diabetic wounds.