Assessment of Deep Partial Thickness Burn Treatment with Keratin Biomaterial Hydrogels in a Swine Model
Partial thickness burns can advance to full thickness after initial injury due to inadequate tissue perfusion and increased production of inflammatory cytokines, which has been referred to as burn wound progression. In previous work, we demonstrated that a keratin biomaterial hydrogel appeared to reduce burn wound progression. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that a modified keratin hydrogel could reduce burn wound progression and speed healing. Standardized burn wounds were created in Yorkshire swine and treated within 30 minutes with keratin hydrogel (modified and unmodified), collagen hydrogel, or silver sulfadiazine (SSD). Digital images of each wound were taken for area measurements immediately prior to cleaning and dressing changes. Wound tissue was collected and assessed histologically at several time points. Wound area showed a significant difference between hydrogels and SSD groups, and rates of reepithelialization at early time points showed an increase when keratin treatment was used compared to both collagen and SSD. A linear regression model predicted a time to wound closure of approximately 25 days for keratin hydrogel while SSD treatment required 35 days. There appeared to be no measurable differences between the modified and unmodified formulations of keratin hydrogels.