A primary goal in the management of burn wounds is early wound closure. The use of skin allografts represents a lifesaving strategy for severe burn patients, but their ultimate rejection limits their potential efficacy and utility. IL-6 is a major pleiotropic cytokine which critically links innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, we devised anti-IL-6 receptor eluting gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) biomaterials (GelMA/anti-IL-6), which were implanted at the interface between the wound beds and skin allografts. Our visible light crosslinked GelMA/anti-IL-6 immunomodulatory biomaterial (IMB) demonstrated a stable kinetic release profile of anti-IL-6. In addition, the incorporation of anti-IL-6 within the GelMA hydrogel had no effect on the mechanical properties of the hydrogels. Using a highly stringent skin transplant model, the GelMA/anti-IL-6 IMB almost doubled the survival of skin allografts. The use of GelMA/anti-IL-6 IMB was far superior to systemic anti-IL-6 receptor treatment in prolonging skin allograft survival. As compared to the untreated control group, skin from the GelMA/anti-IL-6 IMB group contained significantly fewer alloreactive T cells and macrophages. Interestingly, the environmental milieu of the draining lymph nodes (DLNs) of the mice implanted with the GelMA/anti-IL-6 IMB was also considerably less pro-inflammatory. The percentage of CD4 + IFNγ + cells was much lower in the DLNs of the GelMA/anti-IL-6 IMB group in comparison to the GelMA group. These data highlight the importance of localized immune delivery in prolonging skin allograft survival and its potential utility in treating patients with severe burns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes