The skin, the body’s largest organ, serves as a protective barrier against pathogens and environmental damage. Burns to the skin can arise from various sources such as heat, chemicals, friction, or electricity. Recently, nanoparticles have emerged as an innovative treatment approach for treating burns owing to their precise targeting and minimal toxicity. Indeed, nanoscience has been harnessed to formulate ointments and creams, with zinc oxide nanoparticles playing a crucial role due to their antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Clinical studies focusing on leg ulcers have revealed that the topical application of zinc contributes to improved wound healing. Despite zinc oxide’s gradual penetration into the skin’s deep layers, challenges persist in terms of bioavailability, cell permeability, and biological solubility of zinc oxide ions.
Calendula officinalis, commonly used in skincare products, exhibits potent disinfectant properties, aiding wound healing, reducing scars, and stimulating collagen synthesis. While the plant’s biological activities have been demonstrated in laboratory settings, clinical studies have not consistently shown significant effects due to low bioavailability, insolubility, and permeability.
To overcome these limitations, a recent study published in ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces developed a cream incorporating calendula extract and zinc oxide nanoparticles and assessed its impact on burn wound healing. Specifically, the cream containing nanoparticles loaded with calendula extract was examined for its tissue healing potential in Wistar rats with skin burns. Chemically synthesized zinc oxide nanoparticles loaded with calendula extract underwent confirmation of morphology and physicochemical properties through SEM, ZETA size, XRD, and FTIR assays. The MTT technique gauged the cream’s influence on fibroblast growth, while the antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas was investigated using the MIC method.
Results indicated that high concentrations of zinc oxide nanoparticles increased fibroblast cell proliferation. Histopathological studies revealed tissue granulation and epithelialization without hemorrhage or infection in the initial days of cream treatment. Animal models treated with the cream exhibited an increase in Bcl-2 gene expression and a decrease in Bax expression.
Overall, the findings demonstrated that zinc oxide nanoparticles loaded with calendula extract exert a practical effect in healing burn wounds, leveraging the unique antibacterial properties of zinc oxide nanoparticles and the anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects of calendula extract. The synergistic effect of these substances significantly enhanced the healing process. This newly developed cream holds promise as a successful and viable treatment option for burn wounds.