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Antimicrobial peptide-gold nanoscale therapeutic formulation with high skin regenerative potential

Comune, Michela, Rai, Akhilesh, Chereddy, Kiran K., Pinto, Sandra, Aday, Sezin, Ferreira, André F., Zonari, Alessandra, Blersch, Josephine, Cunha, Rodrigo, Rodrigues, Ricardo, Lerma, Juan, Simões, Pedro N., Préat, Veronique, Ferreira, Lino
Journal of Controlled Release 2017
animal injuries, antimicrobial peptides, collagen, interleukin-6, keratinocytes, mice, models, nanogold, phosphorylation, tissue repair, topical therapy, transcriptional activation, vascular endothelial growth factors
Chronic skin wounds affect ≈3% of persons aged >60years (Davies et al., 2007) [1]. These wounds are typically difficult to heal by conventional therapies and in many cases they get infected making even harder the regeneration process. The antimicrobial peptide (AMP) LL37 combines antimicrobial with pro-regenerative properties and thus represents a promising topical therapy to address both problems. Here, we investigated the wound healing potential of soluble and immobilized LL37 (LL37-conjugated gold nanoparticles, LL37-Au NPs), both in vitro (migration of keratinocytes) and in vivo (skin wound healing). Our results show that LL37-Au NPs, but not LL37 peptide, have the capacity to prolong the phosphorylation of EGFR and ERK1/2 and enhance the migratory properties of keratinocytes in a large in vitro wound model. We further report that both LL37 and LL37-Au NPs promote keratinocyte migration by the transactivation of EGFR, a process that seems to be initiated at the P2X7 receptor, as confirmed by chemical and genetic inhibition studies. Finally, we show in vivo that LL37-Au NPs have higher wound healing activity than LL37 peptide in a splinted mouse full thickness excisional model. Animal wounds treated by LL37-Au NPs have higher expression of collagen, IL6 and VEGF than the ones treated with LL37 peptide or NPs without LL37. Altogether, the conjugation of AMPs to NPs offers a promising platform to enhance their pro-regenerative properties.