Chemically cross-linked poly(vinyl alcohol) electrospun fibrous mats as wound dressing materials


BACKGROUND: Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) is a synthetic biocompatible polymer that is extensively used by the medical and pharmaceutical industries due to its FDA approval for in vivo applications. Its highly hydrophilic nature makes it an ideal wound dressing material, especially in the form of nanofibrous mats. RESULTS: In this work, electrospun PVA-based scaffolds suitable for wound management were created. Chemical cross-linking with citric acid and glyoxal was employed to enhance the supports’ stability in aqueous environments, and cellulose nanocrystals were added during the electrospinning process to improve the mechanical properties of the final constructs. Varying the concentrations of the cross-linking agents (0.12-1 wt% citric acid and 0.06-0.5 wt% glyoxal), allowed the control of the rate and extend of dissolution, thereby tuning the properties of the materials to the specific wound types (e.g. acute vs chronic). There was an inverse relationship between the amount of cross-linkers used and the mats’ weight loss (ranging from 2% to 18%) after 6 days immersion in water. All supports sustained the growth of human fibroblasts (>85% viability), whereas there was no biofilm formation when in contact with S. aureus for 24 hours. The presence of cellulose nanocrystals did not affect cytocompatibility but improved the mechanical properties of the non-woven fibres. CONCLUSION: Tailor-made biocompatible electrospun mats showing antimicrobial behaviour were successfully created through altering the concentration of chemical cross-linkers. This flexible approach offers the potential of matching the dressing to the wound type and offering a more targeted solution to wound management

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