Theranostics 2020; 10(4):1500-1513. doi:10.7150/thno.39471 This issue

Research Paper

Ultrasmall CuS@BSA nanoparticles with mild photothermal conversion synergistically induce MSCs-differentiated fibroblast and improve skin regeneration

Yao Xiao1, Jinrong Peng1, Qingya Liu1, Lijuan Chen2, Kun Shi1, Ruxia Han1, Qian Yang3, Lin Zhong1, Ruoyu Zha1, Ying Qu1, Zhiyong Qian1,✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, West China Medical School, Sichuan University and Collaborative Innovation Center of Biotherapy, Chengdu 610041, China
2. The Department of Radiology, Henan Key Laboratory of Neurological Imaging, Henan Provincial People's Hospital & the People's Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450003, China
3. The School of Pharmacy, Chengdu Medical College, Chengdu, 610500, China

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Xiao Y, Peng J, Liu Q, Chen L, Shi K, Han R, Yang Q, Zhong L, Zha R, Qu Y, Qian Z. Ultrasmall CuS@BSA nanoparticles with mild photothermal conversion synergistically induce MSCs-differentiated fibroblast and improve skin regeneration. Theranostics 2020; 10(4):1500-1513. doi:10.7150/thno.39471. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based therapies have been used in skin regeneration due to their ability to differentiate into many cells, promote cytokine secretion and participate in collagen deposition. In this study, we concluded that a CuS@BSA nanoparticles exhibited similar potential in inducing MSCs differentiation to fibroblasts as Cu ions for wound healing.

Methods: First, we verified the photothermal efficiency of CuS@BSA in vivo and vitro and had no cytotoxicity for MSCs when the temperature was controlled at 42 °C by adjusting the power of irradiation at 980 nm. And then we detected the expression of vimentin in MSCs, which further directed the MSCs to fibroblasts through Western blotting and Immunofluorescence when treated with CuS@BSA or pre-heat at 42 °C. In addition, we implanted MSCs into the Matrigel or electrospun PLA nanofiber membrane in vitro to evaluating the effect of heating or CuS@BSA on the morphological change of MSCs by SEM. Finally, we evaluated improving skin regeneration by the combination of preheated-MSCs and CuS@BSA nanoparticles that were encapsulated in Matrigel.

Results: The CuS@BSA nanoparticles have good photothermal conversion efficiency. Not only CuS nanoparticles itself or after irradiation at 980 nm stimulated the expressioin of vimentin in MSCs. Besides, the CuS@BSA can promote cell proliferation as Cu ion through the expression of ERK. The combination of the CuS@BSA nanoparticles and thermal treatment synergistically improved the closure of an injured wound in an injured wound model.

Conclusions: MSCs combined with CuS@BSA are a promising wound dressing for the reconstruction of full-thickness skin injuries.

Keywords: MSCs, differentiation, CuS@BSA, photothermal conversion, wound healing.