Silver nanoparticles mediate differential responses in keratinocytes and fibroblasts during skin wound healing

ChemMedChem. 2010 Mar 1;5(3):468-75. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.200900502.


With advances in nanotechnology, pure silver has been recently engineered into nanometer-sized particles (diameter <100 nm) for use in the treatment of wounds. In conjunction with other studies, we previously demonstrated that the topical application of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) can promote wound healing through the modulation of cytokines. Nonetheless, the question as to whether AgNPs can affect various skin cell types--keratinocytes and fibroblasts--during the wound-healing process still remains. Therefore, the aim of this study was to focus on the cellular response and events of dermal contraction and epidermal re-epithelialization during wound healing under the influence of AgNPs; for this we used a full-thickness excisional wound model in mice. The wounds were treated with either AgNPs or control with silver sulfadiazine, and the proliferation and biological events of keratinocytes and fibroblasts during healing were studied. Our results confirm that AgNPs can increase the rate of wound closure. On one hand, this was achieved through the promotion of proliferation and migration of keratinocytes. On the other hand, AgNPs can drive the differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, thereby promoting wound contraction. These findings further extend our current knowledge of AgNPs in biological and cellular events and also have significant implications for the treatment of wounds in the clinical setting.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • BALB 3T3 Cells
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Silver / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Silver