Design of a Composite Wound Dressing: Combining Electrospun Gelatin Fleeces and free-standing LbL Films

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ICE Krakow

ICE Krakow

ul. Marii Konopnickiej 17 30-302 Kraków


Hautmann, Adrian (MLU Halle-Wittenberg)


Chronic skin wounds place a high burden on patients and health systems. In this study, we developed a composite of an electrospun fleece and a freestanding multilayer film, to combine their respective advantages.
A gelatin solution was electrospun and the resulting fleece partially crosslinked in formaldehyde vapor. Spray coating was employed to build up a free-standing film directly on top of the crosslinked electrospun material. First a bonding layer-by-layer (LbL) system of oxidized hyaluronic acid (oxHA) and chitosan and afterwards a bulk LbL-system of alginate and chitosan as alternating polyelectrolytes were combined. The result is a composite with an electrospun fleece at the underside and a free-standing LbL system on top. Afterwards the composite was crosslinked with genipin. The uncrosslinked and genipin crosslinked composites were compared to the individual fleece and free-standing film. The structure, layer growth and swelling properties were characterized by confocal microscopy, profilometry and nano-tomography. Dynamic mechanical analysis was performed to evaluate the mechanical properties. Additionally, cell experiments with normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF) were performed to test biocompatibility, cell adhesion and proliferation. Proliferative assays were accompanied by immunohistochemical staining.
The fleece and film were successfully combined with proficient bonding provided by the crosslinking of oxHA with gelatin. On the bottom side of the composite, the porosity provided by the fibers of the electrospun fleece stays intact. On the top side the free-standing film acts as a physical barrier which provides mechanical stability and swelling capabilities. All composites show no cytotoxicity and are biocompatible. The genipin crosslinked composites show an increase in mechanical stability, while having a slightly inferior effect on cell growth compared to the native system. Overall, the composites show a superior outcome over their individual components.
The proposed composite can increase cell adhesion and proliferation by the topographic cues of the electrospun fibers acting as a scaffold. At the same time, the modular design of the LbL free-standing films allows the tuning of physical properties like swelling or gaseous exchange as well as the introduction of antibacterial capabilities or a growth factor reservoir with controlled release. This makes the composite a promising starting point for the design of a novel wound dressing."

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