Aloe vera and curcumin loaded oxidized pectin-gelatin (OP-Gel) matrices were used as antimicrobial finishes on nonwoven cotton fabrics to produce composite wound care devices. The drug release characteristics of the biocomposite dressings indicated that curcumin is released through a biphasic mechanism - erosion of the polymeric matrix, followed by diffusion, while aloe vera is released upon leaching of the polymeric matrix. A 50/50 composition of aloe vera/curcumin was used to fabricate OP-Gel-Aloe Curcumin dressings. However, contrary to our expectations, OP-Gel-Aloe Curcumin dressings exhibited lesser antimicrobial activity compared to OP-Gel-Aloe and OP-Gel-Curcumin dressings. The cytocompatibility of the fabricated dressings was evaluated using NIH3T3 mouse fibroblast cells. OP-Gel-Aloe treated fibroblasts had the highest viability, with the matrices providing a substrate for good cell attachment and proliferation. On the other hand, OP-Gel-Curcumin and OP-Gel-Aloe Curcumin seemed to have induced apoptosis in NIH3T3 cells. In vivo wound healing analysis was carried out using an excisional splint wound model on C57BL/6J mice. OP-Gel-Aloe treated wounds exhibited very rapid healing with 80% of the wound healing in just 8 days. Furthermore, aloe vera exerted a strong anti-inflammatory effect and prominent scar prevention. Histological examination revealed that an ordered collagen formation and neovascularization could be observed along with migration of nuclei. Therefore, OP-Gel-Aloe biocomposite dressings are proposed as viable materials for effective wound management.
Keywords: Biocomposite; Oxidized pectin; Wound healing.
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