Chitosan dressing promotes healing in third degree burns in mice: Gene expression analysis shows biphasic effects for rapid tissue regeneration and decreased fibrotic signaling

Ruth M. Baxter, Tianhong Dai, Jess Kimball, Eugenia Wang, Michael R. Hamblin, William P. Wiesmann, Simon J. McCarthy, Shenda M. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Burns are a significant health challenge and healing can result in scar formation. Chitosan, a derivative of chitin, has been used to promote wound healing. In this study we used gene expression profiling in a mouse model of full thickness cutaneous burn to assess the benefits of treating with a chitosan lactate dressing. Three days after wounding mice treated with chitosan showed increased expression of genes associated with formation of granulation tissue. At a later time point, seven days after wounding, genes that initially showed increased expression were now down-regulated, and there was increased expression of genes involved in remodeling suggesting that the chitosan treatment results in accelerated healing. Quantitative RT-PCR showed modulated mRNA levels for TGFb1 by the chitosan dressing. TGFb1 initially promotes healing but extended activity can result in scarring. Importantly we found that expression was elevated at day three, but decreased at day seven suggesting that chitosan treatment will not result in scar formation, and may even be beneficial in preventing scar formation. Additionally, the biphasic regulation of expression of TGFb1 could be a powerful biomarker for future studies of the wound-healing potential of chitosan based and other treatments for burn wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Volume101 A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013



  • Biomarkers
  • Chitosan
  • Expression profiling
  • TGFb1
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys

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