Alkannin, shikonin (A/S) and their derivatives are naturally occurring hydroxynaphthoquinones with a well-established spectrum of wound healing, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor activity. Clinical studies over the years revealed that A/S derivatives-based wound healing preparations (such as HELIXDERM®) are among a very small group of therapeutics that modulate both the inflammatory and proliferative phases of wound healing and present significant tissue regenerative activity. The purpose of the present work was to combine the biological properties of A/S and the advantages of electrospun meshes to prepare a potent topical/transdermal biomaterial for A/S. Four biocompatible polymers (cellulose acetate, poly(l-lactide), poly(lactide-co-glycolide) LA/GA:50/50 and 75/25) were used for the first time, to produce electrospun fiber mats containing either shikonin or A/S mixture in various amounts. Both drugs were effectively loaded into the above biomaterials. The incorporation of drugs did not considerably affect fibers morphology and their mean diameter size varied from 315 to 670 nm. High drug entrapment efficiencies (ranged from 74% to 95%) and appropriate release profiles were achieved, that render these fibers as potential A/S topical/transdermal wound healing dressings. Given the multifunctional activity of the natural products alkannins and shikonins, their consideration as bioactive constituents for tissue engineering scaffolds seems a promising strategy for repairing and regenerating tissues and mainly skin. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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