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Scarring: Material With Built-In Vitamin A Reduces Scarring

First Posted: Jan 28, 2016 10:53 AM EST

Scarring is one of the results from the natural healing process. However, scar formation with blood vessels could be a deadly process. In order to avoid scarring and subsequent dangers, researchers at Northwestern University created a biodegradable material that has a built-in vitamin A, which reduces scarring in blood vessels, according to a study.

"When injury occurs, cells proliferate and migrate into the blood vessel, creating scar-like tissue. It can create blockages that impair blood flow," Guillermo Ameer, coauthor of the study, said in a news release.

The material has a soft, elastic-like feature and it can be used to create medical devices stents and prosthetic vascular grafts, which will enable them to have intrinsic healing properties. The researchers' new material can reduce cell migration, which is a major contributor to the scarring process, by 57 percent.

The new material is a product from a previous study that was conducted by Ameer, who placed vitamin C into the structure of a material that was used to grow and improve vascular grafts. The team found that applied vitamin A could reduce scarring in blood vessels. Adding vitamin A into the equation enables the new material to have numerous applications in a range of medical devices.

"The original antioxidant material is based on citric-acid and has antioxidant properties," said Robert van Lith, coauthor of the study. "It has groups that react with other acids. By using an acid form of vitamin A, we linked it directly to the material."

The new material has an antioxidant feature which reduces oxidative stress that leads to chronic inflammation and vitamin A that is released, as the material degrades helps prevent and reduce scarring.

This advanced material can be applied in open heart surgeries and endovascular procedures. It can also be applied outside the body, in wound-healing bandages for individuals with diabetes, according to the researchers.

The findings of this study were published in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

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