Conductive and antimicrobial macroporous nanocomposite hydrogels generated from air-in-water Pickering emulsions for neural stem cell differentiation and skin wound healing
Electro-active conducting hydrogels have shown promising applications in promoting soft tissue regeneration. However, achieving good conductive performance while simultaneously imparting macroporous structures to these hydrogels still remains challenging. In this study, we report the development of multifunctional conductive macroporous nanocomposite hydrogels (MNHs) prepared by an air-in-water emulsion template that is stabilized by colloidal hybrids of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and gelatin methacryloyl. The MNH hydrogels demonstrated tunable pore size, electrical conductivity and mechanical properties with various CNT concentrations in the crosslinking matrices. An in vitro cell assay showed that the MNH hydrogels could promote the spreading and differentiation of NE-4C neural stem cells. Furthermore, sustainable release of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from the MNH hydrogel can be achieved and the released AMPs maintained high S. aureus killing activity. An in vivo evaluation of the MNH hydrogel using a murine dorsal skin model further showed that the conductive MNH hydrogel loaded with AMPs demonstrated appealing antimicrobial and wound healing performance in two weeks.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Antibacterial Biomaterials