How Reactive Oxygen Species Can Lead To A Chronic Wound

David G. Armstrong DPM MD PhD

What factors can complicate the healing of a chronic wound? A recent presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology points to reactive oxygen species reacting with biofilm as a factor.

Manuela Martins-Green, PhD, a Professor of Cell Biology at the University of California, Riverside, reports that two biological activities are out of control in chronic wound infections. She explains that reactive oxygen species are chemically reactive molecules formed by the partial reduction of oxygen while biofilms form via selective invading bacteria. Furthermore, she notes excessive reactive oxygen species can induce chronic inflammation and when this is combined with biofilms, it can result in a toxic environment that can resist efforts to heal a chronic wound.

As part of the study, Dr. Martins-Green's lab inhibited two antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase and catalase, which caused the amount of reactive oxygen species in the wounds to soar and strengthened the biofilm. To decrease reactive oxygen species to normal levels, researchers applied two strong antioxidant supplements, vitamin E and N-Acetyl cysteine, that restored glutathione peroxidase and catalase, decreased levels of reactive oxygen species, and disintegrated biofilm in the wound. This led to healthier wound tissue and healing.

I think wounds become chronic due to a multitude of factors, not the least of which include repetitive stress. The stress increases inflammation, which increases the cascade of events, making it easier for colonization and infection. 

This blog has been adapted from where it originally appeared at http://diabeticfootonline.blogspot.com/2013/12/researchers-explain-why-s... .

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