Abstract

Keratin is a natural protein with a high content of cysteine residues (7–13%) and is widely found in hair, wool, horns, hooves, and nails. Keratin possesses abundant cell-binding motifs such as leucine-aspartate-valine (LDV), glutamate-aspartate-serine (EDS), and arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD), which benefit cell attachment and proliferation. It has been confirmed that keratin plays important roles in every stage of wound healing, including hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling, making keratin-based materials good candidates for wound dressings. In combination with synthetic and natural polymers, keratin-based wound dressings in the forms of films, hydrogels, and nanofibers can be achieved with improved mechanical properties. This review focuses on the recent development of keratin-based wound dressings. Firstly, the physicochemical and biological properties of keratin, are systematically discussed. Secondly, the role of keratin in wound healing is proposed. Thirdly, the applications of keratin-based wound dressings are summarized, in terms of the forms and functionalization. Finally, the current challenges and future development of keratin-based wound dressings are presented.

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