Experimental approach may improve healing of diabetic wounds and bed sores

Feb 08, 2011

Loyola University Health System researchers are reporting on a promising new approach to treating diabetic wounds, bed sores, chronic ulcers and other slow-to-heal wounds.

It may be possible to speed healing by suppressing certain , researchers wrote in the February, 2011, issue of the journal Expert Review of Dermatology.

The cells are called neutrophils and natural killer T (NKT) cells. These white blood cells act to kill and other that can infect wounds. NKT cells also recruit other white blood cells to the site of injury. But in some cases, these NKT cells can do more harm than good, said senior author Elizabeth Kovacs, PhD, director of research in Loyola's Burn & Shock Trauma Institute.

Neutrophils can be beneficial to wound healing by gobbling up harmful bacteria and debris such as dead cells. But neutrophils also can do harm -- by producing enzymes that digest healthy surrounding tissue, leading to excessive scar tissue and slower healing.

"It's a balancing act. You need neutrophils, but not too many of them," said Aleah Brubaker, first author of the article and an MD/PhD student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The third co-author is Dr. David Schneider, a surgical resident at Loyola.

NKT cells respond to wound injuries by producing proteins called cytokines and chemokines that attract neutrophils and other to the wound site. A previous study at Loyola demonstrated that the presence of activated NKT cells slows down the healing process, while the absence of these cells leads to faster wound closure.

In an editorial, Kovacs and colleagues wrote that since neutrophils and NKT cells are among the earliest immune system responders to injury, "they serve as ideal targets for modulation of the wound-repair process." For example, in experimental models, treatment with antibodies against surface molecules on or can inactivate the cells or prevent them from entering the wound.

Early treatment in high-risk patients using such therapeutic strategies may be able to "decrease the incidence and prevalence of chronic, non-healing wounds, reduce infectious complications and ameliorate associated healthcare costs," Kovacs and colleagues wrote.

Explore further: Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Skin care: new research into scar-free healing

Jan 21, 2008

New research from the University of Bristol shows that by suppressing one of the genes that normally switches on in wound cells, wounds can heal faster and reduce scarring. This has major implications not ...

Artificial skin system can heal wounds

Dec 20, 2007

A new study in Artificial Organs tested the effects of a wound dressing created with hair follicular cells. The findings reveal that skin substitutes using living hair cells can increase wound healing.

Recommended for you

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

2 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

18 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

Jan 30, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.