Human hair-derived keratin biomaterials may help to regenerate skeletal muscle and show promise in new research that would be significant to increase in both the new muscle tissue formation and muscle function in mouse models of volumetric muscle loss.
The regeneration of muscle following the treatment with keratin hydrogels in two new studies, were published in the journal Tissue Engineering, which is a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers.
In "Cell and Growth Factor-Loaded Keratin Hydrogels for Treatment of Volumetric Muscle Loss (VML) in Mouse Model," Hannah Baker, PhD, Juliana Passipieri, PhD, George Christ, PhD, and coauthors from University Maryland (College Park), University of Virginia (Charlottesville), Wake Forest University and KeraNetics, LLC (Winston-Salem, NC), and Miami University (Oxford, OH) report that mice with an area of substantial muscle mass loss that were treated with keratin hydrogels and growth factors had the best recovery of muscle contraction force.
In a second study, entitled "Keratin Hydrogel Enhances In Vivo Skeletal Muscle Function in a Rat Model of Volumetric Muscle Loss," Passipieri, Baker, Christ, et al. compared the results of treating a substantial muscle injury in rats using keratin hydrogels with or without growth factors or skeletal muscle progenitor cells versus control animals treated with no repair or an alternative tissue matrix. Keratin hydrogel-treated animals recovered up to 90% of the maximum possible muscle function.