Dual-Action Icariin-Containing Thermosensitive Hydrogel for Wound Macrophage Polarization and Hair Follicle Neogenesis

    Ying-Ying Teng, Ming-Li Zou, Siyu Liu, Yuan Jia, Kaiwen Zhang, Zheng-Dong Yuan, JunJie Wu, Junxing Ye, Shun Yu, Xia Li, Xiaojin Zhou, Feng-Lai Yuan
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    TLDR The gel with icariin speeds up wound healing, reduces scarring, and helps hair growth by controlling BMP4 signaling. It also reduces inflammation and improves wound quality in mice, adapts to different wound shapes, and gradually releases icariin to aid healing. It also prevents too much collagen and myofibroblast formation during skin healing.
    The study investigated a thermosensitive hydrogel containing icariin, an extract from traditional Chinese medicine, for wound healing and hair follicle regeneration. The hydrogel was tested on human monocytic cell line THP-1 and human hair dermal papilla cells (HDDPCs). The hydrogel was found to accelerate wound healing, reduce scar tissue formation, and promote hair follicle regeneration by regulating BMP4 signaling. In a mouse skin-wound-healing model, the hydrogel enhanced wound recovery, suppressed skin fibrosis, promoted the polarization of M2 macrophages, reducing inflammation and improving wound healing quality. The hydrogel also adapted to wounds of different shapes and gradually released icariin to promote wound healing. The icariin released from the hydrogel reduced excessive collagen deposition and excess myofibroblast differentiation during skin-wound healing.
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