Homogeneous and efficient production of a bacterial nanocellulose-lactoferrin-collagen composite under an electric field as a matrix to promote wound healing†
BNC was functionalized with collagen (COL) and lactoferrin (LF) to form three different composites: BNC/COL, BNC/LF and BNC/LF/COL using a novel electrophoresis-based technology. The technology is less time-consuming than traditional immersion-adsorption methods and offers the additional advantages of greater protein loading, better homogeneity and a lower requirement for processing solution. Significantly, it has general applicability and great potential for fabricating other similar composites. The water-holding capability and water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) of BNC composites were significantly improved, particularly in the case of BNC/LF/COL, with a WVTR of 2600 g m−2 d−1, indicating that the composite maintains a moderately moist environment over the wound bed, which would enhance epithelial cell migration during the healing process. Compared with BNC and BNC/COL, the LF-impregnated composites mediated a reduction in bacterial viability of at least 77%. Impregnation with COL significantly improved the cytocompatibility of BNC composites to promote the adhesion and proliferation of fibroblast cells. Furthermore, a greater therapeutic effect of BNC/LF/COL was observed in a rat model of wound healing, with a new epithelium formed within 9 days and without any significant adverse reactions. These results suggest that BNC/LF/COL obtained using the electrophoresis method represents a promising wound dressing for use in practical applications.