Nanofibrous scaffolds belong to the most suitable materials for tissue engineering, because they mimic the fibrous component of the natural extracellular matrix. This chapter is focused on the application of nanofibers in skin tissue engineering and wound healing, because the skin is the largest and vitally important organ in the human body. Nanofibrous meshes can serve as substrates for adhesion, growth and differentiation of skin and stem cells, and also as an antimicrobial and moisture-retaining barrier. These meshes have been prepared from a wide range of synthetic and nature-derived polymers. This chapter is focused on the use of nature-derived polymers. These polymers have good or limited degradability in the human tissues, which depends on their origin and on the presence of appropriate enzymes in the human tissues. Non-degradable and less-degradable polymers are usually produced in bacteria, fungi, algae, plants or insects, and include, for example, cellulose, dextran, pullulan, alginate, pectin and silk fibroin. Well-degradable polymers are usually components of the extracellular matrix in the human body or at least in other vertebrates, and include collagen, elastin, keratin and hyaluronic acid, although some polymers produced by non-vertebrate organisms, such as chitosan or poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), are also degradable in the human body.
Part of the book: Current and Future Aspects of Nanomedicine