A Peptide/MicroRNA-31 Nanomedicine within an Electrospun Biomaterial Designed to Regenerate Wounds In Vivo

Mulholland EJ*, McErlean EM, Dunne N, McCarthy HO*

*Corresponding author for this work

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microRNA-31 (miR-31) has been identified to be downregulated in pathologies associated with delayed wound repair. Thus, it was proposed that the delivery of a plasmid encoding miR-31 (pmiR-31) to the skin could hold potential in promoting wound healing. Effective delivery of pmiR-31 was potentiated by encapsulation with the CHAT peptide to form nanocomplexes, this improved cellular entry and elicited a potent increase in miR-31 expression in vitro in both skin human keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT) and human microvascular endothelial cell line (HMEC-1). Transfection efficiencies with CHAT/pEFGP-N1 were significant at 15.2 ± 8.1% in HMEC-1 cells and >40% in HaCaT cells. In this study, the CHAT/pmiR-31 nanocomplexes at a N:P ratio of 10 had an average particle size of 74.2 nm with a cationic zeta potential of 9.7 mV. Delivery of CHAT/pmiR-31 to HaCaT and HMEC-1 cells resulted in significant improvements in cell migration capacity and increased angiogenesis. In vivo studies were conducted in C57BL/6J mice were CHAT/pmiR-31 was delivered via electrospun PVA nanofibres, demonstrating a significant increase in epidermal (increase of ∼38.2 µm) and stratum corneum (increase of 8.2 µm) layers compared to controls. Furthermore, treatment in vivo with CHAT/pmiR-31 increased angiogenesis in wounds compared to controls, with a significant increase in vessel diameter by ∼20.4 µm compared against a commercial dressing control (Durafiber™). Together, these data demonstrate that the delivery of CHAT/pmiR-31 nanocomplexes from electrospun PVA nanofibres represent an innovative therapy for wound repair, eliciting a positive therapeutic response across both stromal and epithelial tissue compartments of the skin. 
Statement of Significance : This study advances research regarding the development of our unique electrospun nanofibre patch to deliver genetic nanoparticles into wounds in vivo to promote healing. The genetic nanoparticles are comprised of: (a) plasmid micro-RNA31 that has been shown to be downregulated in pathologies with delayed wound repair and (b) a 15 amino acid linear peptide termed CHAT. The CHAT facilitates complexation of miR-31 and cellular uptake. Herein, we report for the first time on the use of CHAT to deliver a therapeutic cargo pmiR-31 for wound healing applications from a nanofibre patch. Application of the nanofibre patch resulted in the controlled delivery of the CHAT/pmiR-31 nanoparticles with a significant increase in both epidermal and stratum corneum layers compared to untreated and commercial controls.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Nov 2021


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