Chronic wounds are a common and debilitating condition associated with aging populations that impact more than 6.5 million patients in the United States. We have previously demonstrated the efficacy of daily topical 1% valsartan in treating wounds in diabetic mouse and pig models. Despite these promising results, there remains a need to develop an extended-release formulation that would reduce patient burden by decreasing the frequency of daily applications. Here, we used nanotechnology to self-assemble valsartan amphiphiles into a filamentous structure (val-filaments) that would serve as a scaffold in wound beds and allow for steady, localised and tunable release of valsartan amphiphiles over 24 days. Two topical treatments of this peptide-based hydrogel on full-thickness wounds in Zucker Diabetic Fatty rats resulted in faster rates of wound closure. By day 23, all val-filament treated wounds were completely closed, as compared to one wound closed in the placebo group. Mechanistically, we observed enrichment of proteins involved in cell adhesion and energetics pathways, downregulation of Tgf-β signalling pathway mediators (pSmad2, pSmad3 and Smad4) and increased mitochondrial metabolic pathway intermediates. This study demonstrates the successful synthesis of a sustained-release valsartan filament hydrogel, its impact on mitochondrial energetics and efficacy in treating diabetic wounds.
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