Title: A Novel Keratinocyte delivery system to burn wounds. Objectives Tailored spray devices can play an important role in improving spray cell delivery to burn wounds. The aim of this study is to develop an effective carrier system for spray cell transplantation to burn wounds and provide a novel spray assessment method. Methods Spray characteristics of a potential cell carrier (Gellan hydrogel) were compared to other hydrogels and water. Spray application through an airbrush with standardized spray angle, distance and delivered air pressure was performed. Expansion rate, droplet size, relative span factor and percentage of surface area covered were determined utilizing a gelatin gel substrate and water-sensitive paper (measuring 26 x 76mm) on a flat and tilted receiving surface. Sprayed paper was scanned and analysed with Image J software. Furthermore, cell viability was assessed following gellan encapsulation and spraying with live/dead staining. Results Our preliminary results demonstrate that Gellan hydrogel shows reduced runoff compared to other hydrogels and water. Gellan expansion rate was 2.74 times and 1.7 times less than water when applied to a flat and tilted surface respectively. Following spray application of 50l fluid volume, hydrogel droplets preserve structural stability and demonstrate a higher relative span factor (gellan 5.0 and water 2.4) which potentially explains the lower mean percentage area covered by gellan (24%, range 22-27%) compared to water (44%, range 40-48%). Cells maintained high viability after encapsulation in gellan for at least 14 days and following spraying. Conclusion Water-sensitive paper is a useful addition to assess spray characteristics. Preliminary in vitro results from our studies show that cells tolerate Gellan encapsulation and spray assessment of Gellan demonstrates limited expansion and runoff to the receiving surface. Therefore, Gellan hydrogel seems a promising candidate for both cell encapsulation and spray application.
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