Researchers in China have discovered that collagen isolated from the skin of tilapia effectively reduce wound healing time in mice. The usefulness of collagen, a major structural protein found in connective tissues, in wound healing has been known. Using fish proteins instead of typical mammalian sources reduces the risk for potential pathogens.
Dr. Jiao Sun (Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine) and colleagues isolated collagen from the skin of tilapia and spun the collagen into nanofibers.The nanofibers were shown to have high tensile strength (great for keeping the skin together while moving around) and were hydrophilic and stable thermally. Most importantly, the fish collagen did not cause an immune response in rodents and actually reduced healing time of wounds on rats in comparison to untreated wounds or wounds treated with alginate dressings.
In a quote from Chemistry World, Dr. Giuseppe Tronci (University of Leeds) who was not involved in the study stated “Given the outstanding in vivo data, it would be interesting to see how the skin regeneration potential of this material compared with that of a commercially available collagen-based wound dressing, such as Promogran from Systagenix or Biostep from Smith & Nephew. I would also be curious to see what kind of gelling properties these materials show in physiological conditions and to what extent the collagenous structure (triple helices, fibrils) is retained in the resulting mesh, since both aspects are crucial in terms of wound exudate management and skin wound healing.”
The team is also working on adding antimicrobial properties to the fish collagen nanofibers.
Zhou T, Wang N, Xue Y, Ding T, Liu X, Mo X, Sun J. Development of Biomimetic Tilapia Collagen Nanofibers for Skin Regeneration through Inducing Keratinocytes Differentiation and Collagen Synthesis of Dermal Fibroblasts. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 7(5): 3253-3262, 2015. DOI: 10.1021/am507990m