Introduction: Pressure ulcers are an important health problem due to their impact on the morbidity and suffering of patients, and are increasing over the world owing to aging of the population. Moreover, pressure ulcers are defined as injuries in skin, which are compressed between the bony prominences of the patients and an external surface leading skin necrosis inducing pain and distress, leading to the impairment of the quality of life of patients. Objectives: Herein, we investigated the effects of biotechnological products from bacterial cellulose in an animal model of pressure ulcers. Methods: Non-invasive model of pressure injury was induced in male Swiss mice. Animals were exposed to four cycles of cutaneous ischemia–reperfusion (I/R) by trapping the dorsal skin between two magnetic plates for 12 hours, followed by plate removal. Four IR cycles were performed in each mouse to initiate decubitus ulcer formation. To investigate bacterial cellulose effect on wound healing of pressure ulcers, the mean area of skin ulcers, presence of exudate, redness and moisture were evaluated at 0, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 and 15 days after skin injury. The results are expressed as percentage of original wound area. Bacterial cellulose hydrogel plus montmorillonite (BCH-M) was applied daily in right side, and left side was used with untreated control. Dersani hydrogel with alginate® was used as positive control drug. Results: Application of hydrogel incorporated with bacterial cellulose plus montmorillonite at the beginning of reperfusion markedly inhibited the formation of cutaneous pressure ulcers when compared to untreated contralateral injury. Wound areas in BCH-M-treated mice were significantly smaller than those in untreated contralateral control from 3 to 7 days after reperfusion. However, BCH-M did not alter inflammatory signs – exudate, redness and moisture – during pressure ulcers model. Conclusion: BCH-M application improves cutaneous wound healing of pressure ulcers in mice. Moreover, hydrogel showed a great potential for biotechnological innovation, particularly considering the low cost of production and easy therapeutic applicability. Thus, BCH-M application may be a good therapeutic alternative in the future for treatment of pressure ulcers and other skin injuries.
Key words: pressure injury, bacterial cellulose membrane hydrogels.