Currently, there are several therapeutic approaches available for wound injury management. However, a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of how biomaterials affect cell behavior is needed to develop potential repair strategies. Bacterial cellulose (BC) is a bacteria-produced biopolymer with several advantageous qualities for skin tissue engineering. The aim here was to investigate BC-based scaffold on epithelial regeneration and wound healing by examining its effects on the expression of scavenger receptor-A (SR-A) and underlying macrophage behavior. Full-thickness skin wounds were generated on Sprague-Dawley rats and the healing of these wounds, with and without BC scaffolds, was examined over 14 days using Masson's trichome staining. BC scaffolds displayed excellent in vitro biocompatibility, maintained the stemness function of cells and promoted keratinocyte differentiation of cells, which are vital in maintaining and restoring the injured epidermis. BC scaffolds also exhibited positive in vivo effects on the wound microenvironment, including improved skin extracellular matrix deposition and controlled excessive inflammation by reduction of SR-A expression. Furthermore, BC scaffold significantly enhanced epithelialization by stimulating the balance of M1/M2 macrophage re-programming for beneficial tissue repair relative to that of collagen material. These findings suggest that BC-based materials are promising products for skin injury repair.
Keywords: bacterial cellulose; epithelialization; scaffold; tissue regeneration; wound healing.