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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 589648, 13 pages
Review Article

Acceleration of Wound Healing by -gal Nanoparticles Interacting with the Natural Anti-Gal Antibody

Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA

Received 19 November 2014; Accepted 18 March 2015

Academic Editor: Mario Clerici

Copyright © 2015 Uri Galili. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Application of α-gal nanoparticles to wounds and burns induces accelerated healing by harnessing the natural anti-Gal antibody which constitutes ~1% of human immunoglobulins. α-gal nanoparticles present multiple α-gal epitopes (Galα1-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc-R), the carbohydrate ligand of anti-Gal. Studied α-gal nanoparticles were comprised of glycolipids with α-gal epitopes, phospholipids, and cholesterol. Binding of anti-Gal to α-gal nanoparticles in wounds activates the complement cascade, resulting in formation of chemotactic complement cleavage peptides that induce rapid recruitment of many macrophages. The Fc/Fcγ receptors interaction between anti-Gal coating α-gal nanoparticles and the recruited macrophages activates macrophages to produce cytokines/growth factors that promote wound healing and recruit stem cells. Studies of wound healing by α-gal nanoparticles were feasible in α1,3galactosyltransferase knockout mice and pigs. In contrast to other nonprimate mammals, these mice and pigs lack the α-gal epitope, and thus they are not immunotolerant to it and produce anti-Gal. Treatment of skin wounds and burns with α-gal nanoparticles resulted in 40–60% decrease in healing time in comparison with control wounds treated with saline. This accelerated healing is associated with increased recruitment of macrophages and extensive angiogenesis in wounds, faster regrowth of epidermis, and regeneration of the dermis. The accelerated healing further decreases and may completely eliminate fibrosis and scar formation in wounds. Since healing of internal injuries is mediated by mechanisms similar to those in external wound healing, it is suggested that α-gal nanoparticles treatment may also improve regeneration and restoration of biological function following internal injuries such as surgical incisions, myocardial ischemia following infarction, and nerve injuries.