Elastin is an essential component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in elastic tissues (e.g. lungs, skin, blood vessels). In the skin, UV radiation, aging processes, but also mechanical injuries lead to irreversible damage of elastic fibers, of which elastin is the main component. As a result, the skin undergoes a progressive loss of function, which can be accelerated locally by wounds and the scar tissue formed as a result.
Innovative materials for wound treatment
Elastin in the skin
Purified, water-soluble elastin © Fraunhofer IMWS, Michael Deutsch
Elastin for the treatment of chronic wounds
In chronic wounds, there is an imbalance between build-up and degradation processes in the wound. Enzymes that are normally responsible for the degradation of dead and closed tissue are present in excess in chronic wounds and also degrade newly formed tissue, usually leaving the wound permanently in the inflammatory phase and preventing wound closure. Elastin counteracts the tissue degradation caused by these enzymes in the wound, so that the tissue is regenerated from the wound bed and the wound can heal.
Elastinsponge (left) and elastin-based nanofiber nonwoven (right)
© Fraunhofer IMWS, Michael Deutsch
Wound care products based on natural elastin
Based on years of research, we have developed elastin-based materials and semi-finished products that can be used as the basis of medical devices for wound care. By using innovative manufacturing technologies, such as lyophilization and electrospinning, we create novel products for different types of wounds.
Prof. Dr. Johannes Wohlrab
Senior physician of the University Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology and Venerology at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg