ROS-Degradable Polythioketal Urethane Foam Dressings to Promote Porcine Skin Wound Repair


Abstract Impaired skin healing and progression into chronic wounds is a prevalent and growing medical problem. Porous, resorbable biomaterials can be used as temporary substrates placed into skin defects to support cell infiltration, neo-tissue formation, and remodeling of nonhealing wounds. Naturally-derived biomaterials have promising healing benefits, but their low mechanical properties and exuberant costs limit their performance and use. Synthetic materials can be affordably manufactured and tuned across a broader range of physiochemical properties, but opportunities remain for tailoring them for ideal host immune and regenerative responses. Polyesters are the most clinically-tested class of synthetic biomaterials, but their hydrolysis releases acidic degradation products that can cause autocatalytic degradation processes that are poorly controlled and are not tied to cellular or other biologic activities. Here, we systemically explored a series of ROS-degradable polythioketal (PTK) urethane (UR) foams with varied hydrophilicity as an alternative class of synthetic biomaterials for wound healing. It was found that the most hydrophilic PTK- UR variant, which had 7 ethylene glycol (EG7) repeats flanking each side of each thioketal bond, had the highest ROS reactivity of the PTK-URs tested. In an in vivo porcine excisional skin wound healing model, hydrophilic EG7 PTK-UR foams more effectively promoted tissue integration, ECM deposition, and re- epithelialization of full-thickness skin wound compared to more hydrophobic PTK-UR variants. Resolution of type 1 inflammation and lower foreign body response to scaffold remnants was also observed for EG7 versus more hydrophobic PTK-UR scaffolds. Finally, porcine wound healing studies showed that EG7 PTK-UR foams had similar wound healing response to a collagen-based clinical gold standard product, Integra Bilayer Wound Matrix (BWM), while outperforming polyester UR foam-based NovoSorb Biodegradable Temporizing Matrix (BTM) with respect to increased ECM production, vascularization, and biomaterial-associated immune phenotype. In sum, PTK-UR foams warrant further development toward a new class of synthetic biomaterial foams for skin wound healing applications.