Enzyme-catalyzed in situ forming gelatin hydrogels as bioactive wound dressings: effects of fibroblast delivery on wound healing efficacy
In this study, in situ forming gelatin hydrogels via horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-catalyzed cross-linking were developed to serve as bioactive wound dressings with suitable tissue adhesive properties to deliver dermal fibroblasts (DFBs). The DFB-encapsulated gelatin hydrogels with different stiffnesses, GH-soft (1.1 kPa) and GH-hard (6.2 kPa), were prepared by controlling the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentrations. The GH-soft hydrogel was capable of facilitating the proliferation of DFBs and the synthesis of extracellular components, as compared to GH-hard hydrogels. In addition, the subcutaneously injected GH-soft hydrogel with bioluminescent reporter cells provided enhanced cell survival and local retention over 14 days. In vivo transplantation of DFB-encapsulated GH-soft hydrogels accelerated wound contraction, and promoted collagen deposition and neovascularization within the incisions performed on mice skin. Therefore, we expect that HRP-catalyzed in situ forming gelatin hydrogels can be useful for local delivery of cells with high viability in wounds, which holds great promise for advancing wound healing technologies and other tissue engineering applications.