Programmed microalgae-gel promotes chronic wound healing in diabetes

Nat Commun. 2024 Feb 3;15(1):1042. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-45101-9.


Chronic diabetic wounds are at lifelong risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers owing to severe hypoxia, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS), a complex inflammatory microenvironment, and the potential for bacterial infection. Here we develop a programmed treatment strategy employing live Haematococcus (HEA). By modulating light intensity, HEA can be programmed to perform a variety of functions, such as antibacterial activity, oxygen supply, ROS scavenging, and immune regulation, suggesting its potential for use in programmed therapy. Under high light intensity (658 nm, 0.5 W/cm2), green HEA (GHEA) with efficient photothermal conversion mediate wound surface disinfection. By decreasing the light intensity (658 nm, 0.1 W/cm2), the photosynthetic system of GHEA can continuously produce oxygen, effectively resolving the problems of hypoxia and promoting vascular regeneration. Continuous light irradiation induces astaxanthin (AST) accumulation in HEA cells, resulting in a gradual transformation from a green to red hue (RHEA). RHEA effectively scavenges excess ROS, enhances the expression of intracellular antioxidant enzymes, and directs polarization to M2 macrophages by secreting AST vesicles via exosomes. The living HEA hydrogel can sterilize and enhance cell proliferation and migration and promote neoangiogenesis, which could improve infected diabetic wound healing in female mice.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetic Foot*
  • Female
  • Hydrogels
  • Hypoxia
  • Mice
  • Microalgae*
  • Oxygen
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Wound Healing


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogels