Wound Healing Society

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Topically Applied Morphine-loaded Keratin Hydrogels On Wound Healing In A Porcine Burn Model
Christine Kowalczewski1, Nicholas Clay1, Nicole Wrice1, Bopaiah Cheppudira1, John Clifford2, Robert Christy1.
1USAISR, Fort Sam Houston, TX, USA, 2USACEHR, Fort Detrick, MD, USA.

Currently burn wound pain management relies heavily on systemic administration of opioids which often result in a number of adverse side effects such as addiction. Therefore, topical administration of opioids directly to the wound site would reduce the total opioid usage. Recent studies have suggested that topical opioids may play a beneficial role in wound healing. In order to provide local delivery of morphine, the opioid can be loaded into a biomaterial such a keratin, a filamentous protein found in human hair. The objective of this study is to assess the effects of topically administered morphine-loaded keratin hydrogels on burn wound healing. Ten partial-thickness burns were created using a 100°C heated 5 cm square brass block applied to the dorsum of an anesthetized Yorkshire swine (N=5). Two days post injury, pigs were re-anesthetized, necrotic tissue was debrided, bleeding was stopped, and respective treatments were applied and dressed. Keratin hydrogels loaded with 0, 1, 5, or 10mg/mL of morphine were compared to no treatment and non-injured physiological controls. Biopsy and blood samples were collected and processed for histology and a cytokine panel analysis. Histomorphologic scores were determined by a trained veterinary pathologist. A Luminex assay was used to measure local inflammatory markers. Findings show a dose-dependent increase in the rate of wound reepilelialization with morphine-loaded keratin hydrogels. Granulation tissue thickness and cytokines were not exacerbated by treatment groups. This study has been conducted in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, Animal Welfare Regulations, and the principles of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

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