SLU news

Less scars and discolored skin when burn damages are healed with a new titanium-based nanomaterial

Published: 20 November 2017

A material based on titanium dioxide nanoparticles has proven to be very promising in the treatment of burned skin. Particularly valuable is that it appears to reduce the formation of scar tissue and discolored skin. Behind the material is an international research team that is now planning further studies in collaboration with a burn wound clinic.

The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports on November 13 by researchers in bionanotechnology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), immunologists at Uppsala University and colleagues at the ITMO University in St. Petersburg.

Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide are known to have the ability to adsorb proteins and the research team suspected that this could render them a strong capacity in inducing body fluid coagulation and create a protective coating on burned skin.

The medical use of nanomaterials is a rapidly growing research area. A problem with titanium dioxide is that it is photoactive and toxic under certain conditions, which can lead to damage on cell DNA. In order to obtain a material with the desired properties, the researchers have used particles of titanium dioxide within a narrow size range and attached a substance on the surface of the particles, which makes the material photochemically inactive and harmless to human cells.

In the initial tests, the material has significantly improved the healing of burn wounds. A very exciting aspect in this discovery is that the selected nanoparticles initiate regeneration of skin tissues and minimize formation of scars and discolorations that are otherwise rather usual in healing of burn damaged skin. It was clearly demonstrated that the content of titanium did not increase in any of the vital organs of treated rats.

"The results are so interesting that we see the potential for a breakthrough in the treatment of wounds and damaged tissues in general," says Vadim Kessler, Professor at SLU’s Department of Molecular Sciences, and leader of the project.

The researchers view the study as a first step in development of revolutionizing new approaches in the treatment of wounds. Future more in-depth investigations are now planned in collaboration with the Burn Wound Center at the Uppsala University Hospital.

More information

Vadim Kessler, professor of inorganic chemistry and bionanotechnology
Department of molecular sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
+46 (0)18-67 15 41,

Kristina Nilsson Ekdahl, guest professor at
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology,
Uppsala University
+46 (0)18-611 11 71,
and professor at
Linnæus Centre for Biomaterials Chemistry
Linnæus University, Kalmar

The article

Gulaim A. Seisenbaeva, Karin Fromell, Vasiliy V. Vinogradov, Aleksey N. Terekhov, Andrey V. Pakhomov, Bo Nilsson, Kristina Nilsson Ekdahl, Vladimir V. Vinogradov & Vadim G. Kessler. (2017) Dispersion of TiO2 nanoparticles improves burn wound healing and tissue regeneration through specific interaction with blood serum proteins. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 15448. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15792-w

Press image

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