*WINNER* Rheological and Turbidimetric Characterization of Early-phase Wound Gels
Treatment of dermal wounds and development of new techniques by which dermal wound healing can be accelerated with minimal scarring are of global interest. During the early stages of the wound healing process, a loose platelet plug is stabilized by the formation of a fibrin gel matrix. A fibrin gel is formed when the protein fibrinogen is enzymatically cleaved by thrombin and crosslinked by Factor XIII. These fibrin matrices help to halt blood flow from the wounded site and serve as a scaffold by which cell transport and adhesion may occur. Various medical disorders, deficiencies, and diseases can result in abnormal wound healing, i.e. scarring or inability to form stable, lasting clots. The study of these bio-gels is expected to result in advancements in wound healing techniques and a better understanding of the behavior of dermal wounds, transport of cellular and other items through such wounds, and resultant scarring control. Towards this end, rheological techniques were explored to characterize structural properties of such early-phase wound media during gel formation. Fibrin gels were prepared using 1, 3, 6, and 12 mg/ml fibrinogen, 1 U/ml thrombin, and 5mM CaCl2, final concentrations. Rheology and turbidity data indicate that gels formed in the presence of higher fibrinogen concentrations develop more rigid structures sooner than those formed at lower fibrinogen concentrations. Such results provide a foundation for future studies to explore the effects of mixing and the influence of modified versions of fibrinogen on gel properties and species transport through such gels.