(646b) Expediting the Wound Healing Process Using An Improved Alginate Wound Dressing

Bhatia, S. R. - Presenter, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Luu, X. M. - Presenter, Baystate Medical Center
Wu, P. - Presenter, Baystate Medical Center
Lee, P. - Presenter, Baystate Medical Center

The recent increase in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) has led to greater interest in the management of diabetic complications and an improved quality of life for patients suffering from the disease. One of the major sequelae of T2D is lower extremity neuropathy and poor wound healing, which leads to ulceration of the lower leg and foot. To provide optimal healing conditions for wound healing, a wide variety of dressings are employed, however, without clear best practice recommendations.

The ideal wound dressing should provide a moist environment, the ability to absorb blood and excess exudate, and permit sufficient gaseous exchange while resisting pathogen invasion. Many commercial wound care products use alginate hydrogels as the dressing scaffold due to its tunable mechanical properties and biocompatibility. Although high porosity enables hydrogel wound dressings to hold up to 90% of their weight in water, hypoxic conditions at the wound site often cannot be avoided due slower diffusion of oxygen when compared to diffusion rates in monolayer culture and vascularized tissue. In diabetic patients, the wound site is hypoxic on the interior and exterior due to the lack of oxygen in the blood stream and the low oxygen diffusion through the wound dressing.

This study uses a modified alginate formulation to overcome this diffusion limitation and increase oxygen transport through wound dressings to expedite the healing of diabetic foot and leg ulcers. The importance of oxygen is evident in cell metabolic activity. We quantify the effect the improved formulation via in vitro and in vivo experiments using human keratinocytes and diabetic vs. non-diabetic rats, respectively. This study also investigates the mechanical integrity of the alginate hydrogel by means of rheological testing and swelling behavior analysis.