Bioactive peptide amphiphile nanofiber gels enhance burn wound healing

Situo Zhou, Akishige Hokugo, Mark McClendon, Zheyu Zhang, Reena Bakshi, Lixin Wang, Luis Andres Segovia, Kameron Rezzadeh, Samuel I. Stupp, Reza Jarrahy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Burns are physically debilitating and potentially fatal injuries. The standard-of-care for burn wounds is the coverage with gauze dressings designed to minimize trauma to the regenerating epidermis and dermis during dressing changes. However, deep partial- and full-thickness burns always heal slowly when standard wound care alone is performed. We have previously reported that peptide amphiphile (PA) gels, pH-induced self-assembling nanostructured fibrous scaffolds, promote cell proliferation and have great potential in regenerative medicine for rapid repair of tissues. In this study, we hypothesized that the PA gels are capable of accelerating wound healing in burn injury. Methods: Artificially generated thermally damaged fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells were seeded onto the various PA nanofiber gels including bioactive and nonbioactive peptide sequences. Cell proliferation was assessed at different time points, and thermally damaged fibroblasts and HUVECs manifested increased proliferation with time when cultured with various PA gels. To determine in vivo effects, burn wounds of rats were treated with the bioactive Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS)-modified gel that showed greater cell proliferation in vitro. The wound closure was observed, and skin samples were harvested for histologic evaluation. Results: Cell proliferation using the RGDS-PA gel was significantly higher than that observed in other gels. The RGDS-PA gel significantly enhanced re-epithelialization during the burn wound healing process between days 7 and 28. Application of PA gels accelerates the recovery of deep partial-thickness burn wounds by stimulation of fibroblasts and the creation of an environment conducive to epithelial cell proliferation and wound closure. Conclusions: This biomaterial represents a new therapeutic strategy to overcome current clinical challenges in the treatment of injuries resulting from burns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1121
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Nanofiber
  • Peptide amphiphile
  • Self-assembly
  • Thermally damaged cells
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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