Keratose hydrogel for tissue regeneration and drug delivery

Benjamin Ledford, Catherine Barron, Mark Van Dyke, Jia Qiang He

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Keratin (KRT), a natural fibrous structural protein, can be classified into two categories: “soft” cytosolic KRT that is primarily found in the epithelia tissues (e.g., skin, the inner lining of digestive tract) and “hard” KRT that is mainly found in the protective tissues (e.g., hair, horn). The latter is the predominant form of KRT widely used in biomedical research. The oxidized form of extracted KRT is exclusively denoted as keratose (KOS) while the reduced form of KRT is termed as kerateine (KRTN). KOS can be processed into various forms (e.g., hydrogel, films, fibers, and coatings) for different biomedical applications. KRT/KOS offers numerous advantages over other types of biomaterials, such as bioactivity, biocompatibility, degradability, immune/inflammatory privileges, mechanical resilience, chemical manipulability, and easy accessibility. As a result, KRT/KOS has attracted considerable attention and led to a large number of publications associated with this biomaterial over the past few decades; however, most (if not all) of the published review articles focus on KRT regarding its molecular structure, biochemical/biophysical properties, bioactivity, biocompatibility, drug/cell delivery, and in vivo transplantation, as well as its applications in biotechnical products and medical devices. Current progress that is directly associated with KOS applications in tissue regeneration and drug delivery appears an important topic that merits a commentary. To this end, the present review aims to summarize the current progress of KOS-associated biomedical applications, especially focusing on the in vitro and in vivo effects of KOS hydrogel on cultured cells and tissue regeneration following skin injury, skeletal muscle loss, peripheral nerve injury, and cardiac infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomedical applications
  • Drug delivery
  • In vitro and in vivo studies
  • Kerateine
  • Keratin
  • Keratose
  • Tissue regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Keratose hydrogel for tissue regeneration and drug delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this