Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Chronic wound


After injury to the animal epidermis, a variety of genes are transcriptionally activated in nearby cells to regenerate the missing cells and facilitate barrier repair. The range and types of diffusible wound signals that are produced by damaged epidermis and function to activate repair genes during epidermal regeneration remains a subject of very active study in many animals. In Drosophila embryos, we have discovered that serine protease function is locally activated around wound sites, and is also required for localized activation of epidermal repair genes. The serine protease trypsin is sufficient to induce a striking global epidermal wound response without inflicting cell death or compromising the integrity of the epithelial barrier. We developed a trypsin wounding treatment as an amplification tool to more fully understand the changes in the Drosophila transcriptome that occur after epidermal injury. By comparing our array results with similar results on mammalian skin wounding we can see which evolutionarily conserved pathways are activated after epidermal wounding in very diverse animals. Our innovative serine protease-mediated wounding protocol allowed us to identify 8 additional genes that are activated in epidermal cells in the immediate vicinity of puncture wounds, and the functions of many of these genes suggest novel genetic pathways that may control epidermal wound repair. Additionally, our data augments the evidence that clean puncture wounding can mount a powerful innate immune transcriptional response, with different innate immune genes being activated in an interesting variety of ways. These include puncture-induced activation only in epidermal cells in the immediate vicinity of wounds, or in all epidermal cells, or specifically in the fat body, or in multiple tissues.

Concepts: Gene expression, Wound healing, Innate immune system, Skin, Serine protease, Injury, Wound, Chronic wound


Terahertz (THz) technology has emerged for biomedical applications such as scanning, molecular spectroscopy, and medical imaging. Although a thorough assessment to predict potential concerns has to precede before practical utilization of THz source, the biological effect of THz radiation is not yet fully understood with scant related investigations. Here, we applied a femtosecond-terahertz (fs-THz) pulse to mouse skin to evaluate non-thermal effects of THz radiation. Analysis of the genome-wide expression profile in fs-THz-irradiated skin indicated that wound responses were predominantly mediated by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling pathways. We validated NFκB1- and Smad3/4-mediated transcriptional activation in fs-THz-irradiated skin by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Repeated fs-THz radiation delayed the closure of mouse skin punch wounds due to up-regulation of TGF-β. These findings suggest that fs-THz radiation initiate a wound-like signal in skin with increased expression of TGF-β and activation of its downstream target genes, which perturbs the wound healing process in vivo.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Wound healing, Healing, Electromagnetic spectrum, Wound, Infrared, Chronic wound


Wound healing is essential for survival. We took advantage of the Xenopus embryo, which exhibits remarkable capacities to repair wounds quickly and efficiently, to investigate the mechanisms responsible for wound healing. Previous work has shown that injury triggers a rapid calcium response, followed by the activation of Ras homolog (Rho) family guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases), which regulate the formation and contraction of an F-actin purse string around the wound margin. How these processes are coordinated following wounding remained unclear. Here we show that inositol-trisphosphate 3-kinase B (Itpkb) via its enzymatic product inositol 1,3,4,5-tetrakisphosphate (InsP4) plays an essential role during wound healing by modulating the activity of Rho family GTPases and F-actin ring assembly. Furthermore, we show that Itpkb and InsP4 modulate the speed of the calcium wave, which propagates from the site of injury into neighboring uninjured cells. Strikingly, both overexpression of itpkb and exogenous application of InsP4 accelerate the speed of wound closure, a finding that has potential implications in our quest to find treatments that improve wound healing in patients with acute or chronic wounds.

Concepts: Wound healing, Infection, Injuries, Injury, Wound, Traumatology, Chronic wound, Rho family of GTPases


The early and effective treatment of wounds is vital to ensure proper wound closure and healing with appropriate functional and cosmetic outcomes. The use of human amnion membranes for wound care has been shown to be safe and effective. However, the difficulty in handling and placing thin sheets of membrane, and the high costs associated with the use of living cellularized tissue has limited the clinical application of amniotic membrane wound healing products. Here, we describe a novel amnion membrane-derived product, processed to result in a cell-free solution, while maintaining high concentrations of cell-derived cytokines and growth factors. The solubilized amnion membrane (SAM) combined with the carrier hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogel (HA-SAM) is easy to produce, store, and apply to wounds. We demonstrated the efficacy of HA-SAM as a wound treatment using a full-thickness murine wound model. HA-SAM significantly accelerated wound closure through re-epithelialization and prevented wound contraction. HA-SAM-treated wounds had thicker regenerated skin, increased total number of blood vessels, and greater numbers of proliferating keratinocytes within the epidermis. Overall, this study confirms the efficacy of the amnion membrane as a wound treatment/dressing, and overcomes many of the limitations associated with using fresh, cryopreserved, or dehydrated tissue by providing a hydrogel delivery system for SAM. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017.

Concepts: Blood, Wound healing, Amniotic sac, Skin, Wound, Chronic wound, Membrane, Amnion


Adipocytes have many functions in various tissues beyond energy storage, including regulating metabolism, growth, and immunity. However, little is known about their role in wound healing. Here we use live imaging of fat body cells, the equivalent of vertebrate adipocytes in Drosophila, to investigate their potential behaviors and functions following skin wounding. We find that pupal fat body cells are not immotile, as previously presumed, but actively migrate to wounds using an unusual adhesion-independent, actomyosin-driven, peristaltic mode of motility. Once at the wound, fat body cells collaborate with hemocytes, Drosophila macrophages, to clear the wound of cell debris; they also tightly seal the epithelial wound gap and locally release antimicrobial peptides to fight wound infection. Thus, fat body cells are motile cells, enabling them to migrate to wounds to undertake several local functions needed to drive wound repair and prevent infections.

Concepts: Immune system, Wound healing, Motility, Physiology, Infection, Wound, Traumatology, Chronic wound


Angiogenesis is critical for wound healing. Insufficient angiogenesis can result in impaired wound healing and chronic wound formation. Electrical stimulation (ES) has been shown to enhance angiogenesis. We previously showed that ES enhanced angiogenesis in acute wounds at one time point (day 14). The aim of this study was to further evaluate the role of ES in affecting angiogenesis during the acute phase of cutaneous wound healing over multiple time points. We compared the angiogenic response to wounding in 40 healthy volunteers (divided into two groups and randomised), treated with ES (post-ES) and compared them to secondary intention wound healing (control). Biopsy time points monitored were days 0, 3, 7, 10, 14. Objective non-invasive measures and H&E analysis were performed in addition to immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blotting (WB). Wound volume was significantly reduced on D7, 10 and 14 post-ES (p = 0.003, p = 0.002, p<0.001 respectively), surface area was reduced on days 10 (p = 0.001) and 14 (p<0.001) and wound diameter reduced on days 10 (p = 0.009) and 14 (p = 0.002). Blood flow increased significantly post-ES on D10 (p = 0.002) and 14 (p = 0.001). Angiogenic markers were up-regulated following ES application; protein analysis by IHC showed an increase (p<0.05) in VEGF-A expression by ES treatment on days 7, 10 and 14 (39%, 27% and 35% respectively) and PLGF expression on days 3 and 7 (40% on both days), compared to normal healing. Similarly, WB demonstrated an increase (p<0.05) in PLGF on days 7 and 14 (51% and 35% respectively). WB studies showed a significant increase of 30% (p>0.05) on day 14 in VEGF-A expression post-ES compared to controls. Furthermore, organisation of granulation tissue was improved on day 14 post-ES. This randomised controlled trial has shown that ES enhanced wound healing by reduced wound dimensions and increased VEGF-A and PLGF expression in acute cutaneous wounds, which further substantiates the role of ES in up-regulating angiogenesis as observed over multiple time points. This therapeutic approach may have potential application for clinical management of delayed and chronic wounds.

Concepts: Wound healing, Angiogenesis, Infection, Randomized controlled trial, Wound, Traumatology, Chronic wound, Granulation tissue


Classical antimicrobial drugs target proliferation and therefore place microbes under extreme selective pressure to evolve resistance. Alternative drugs that target bacterial virulence without impacting survival directly offer an attractive solution to this problem, but to date few such molecules have been discovered. We previously discovered a widespread group of bacterial adhesins, termed Multivalent Adhesion Molecules (MAMs) that are essential for initial binding of bacteria to host tissues and virulence. Thus, targeting MAM-based adherence is a promising strategy for displacing pathogens from host tissues and inhibiting infection. Here, we show that topical application of polymeric microbeads functionalized with the adhesin MAM7 to a burn infected with multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa substantially decreased bacterial loads in the wound and prevented the spread of the infection into adjacent tissues. As a consequence, the application of this adhesion inhibitor allowed for vascularization and wound healing, and maintained local and systemic inflammatory responses to the burn. We propose that MAM7-functionalized microbeads can be used as a topical treatment, to reduce bacterial attachment and hence prevent bacterial colonization and infection of wounds. As adhesion is not required for microbial survival, this anti-infective strategy has the potential to treat multidrug-resistant infections and limit the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Microbiology, Infection, Antibiotic resistance, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Wound, Chronic wound


There is a long-standing association between wound healing and cancer, with cancer often described as a “wound that does not heal”. However, little is known about how wounding, such as following surgery, biopsy collection or ulceration, might impact on cancer progression. Here, we use a translucent zebrafish larval model of Ras(G12V)-driven neoplasia to image the interactions between inflammatory cells drawn to a wound, and to adjacent pre-neoplastic cells. We show that neutrophils are rapidly diverted from a wound to pre-neoplastic cells and these interactions lead to increased proliferation of the pre-neoplastic cells. One of the wound-inflammation-induced trophic signals is prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). In an adult model of chronic wounding in zebrafish, we show that repeated wounding with subsequent inflammation leads to a greater incidence of local melanoma formation. Our zebrafish studies led us to investigate the innate immune cell associations in ulcerated melanomas in human patients. We find a strong correlation between neutrophil presence at sites of melanoma ulceration and cell proliferation at these sites, which is associated with poor prognostic outcome.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Monocyte, Wound healing, Innate immune system, Chemotherapy, Prostaglandin, Chronic wound


Honey is a viscous, supersaturated sugar solution derived from nectar gathered and modified by the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Honey has been used since ancient times as a remedy in wound care. Evidence from animal studies and some trials has suggested that honey may accelerate wound healing.

Concepts: Wound healing, Insect, Wound, European honey bee, Beekeeping, Honey, Chronic wound, Stingless bee


Chronic nonhealing wounds have been heralded as a silent epidemic, causing significant morbidity and mortality especially in elderly, diabetic, and obese populations. Polymicrobial biofilms in the wound bed are hypothesized to disrupt the highly coordinated and sequential events of cutaneous healing. Both culture-dependent and -independent studies of the chronic-wound microbiome have almost exclusively focused on bacteria, omitting what we hypothesize are important fungal contributions to impaired healing and the development of complications. Here we show for the first time that fungal communities (the mycobiome) in chronic wounds are predictive of healing time, associated with poor outcomes, and form mixed fungal-bacterial biofilms. We longitudinally profiled 100, nonhealing diabetic-foot ulcers with high-throughput sequencing of the pan-fungal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) locus, estimating that up to 80% of wounds contain fungi, whereas cultures performed in parallel captured only 5% of colonized wounds. The “mycobiome” was highly heterogeneous over time and between subjects. Fungal diversity increased with antibiotic administration and onset of a clinical complication. The proportions of the phylum Ascomycota were significantly greater (P = 0.015) at the beginning of the study in wounds that took >8 weeks to heal. Wound necrosis was distinctly associated with pathogenic fungal species, while taxa identified as allergenic filamentous fungi were associated with low levels of systemic inflammation. Directed culturing of wounds stably colonized by pathogens revealed that interkingdom biofilms formed between yeasts and coisolated bacteria. Combined, our analyses provide enhanced resolution of the mycobiome during impaired wound healing, its role in chronic disease, and impact on clinical outcomes.

Concepts: Inflammation, Bacteria, Wound healing, Fungus, Yeast, Wound, Ascomycota, Chronic wound