[The modern approach to wound treatment]

Med Pregl. Jul-Aug 2000;53(7-8):363-8.
[Article in Croatian]


Introduction: Wound healing is a complex process involving interactions among a variety of different cell types. The normal wound repair process consists of three phases--inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling that occur in a predictable series of cellular and biochemical events. Wounds are classified according to various criteria: etiology, lasting, morphological characteristics, communications with solid or hollow organs, the degree of contamination. In the last few years many authors use the Color Code Concept, which classifies wounds as red, yellow and black wounds. This paper presents conventional methods of local wound treatment (mechanical cleansing, disinfection with antiseptic solutions, wound debridement--surgical, biological and autolytic; wound closure, topical antibiotic treatment, dressing), as well as general measures (sedation, antitetanous and antibiotic protection, preoperative evaluation and correction of malnutrition, vasoconstriction, hyperglycemia and steroid use, appropriate surgical technique, and postoperative prevention of vasoconstriction through pain relief, warming and adequate volume resuscitation).

The role of physiological factors and antimicrobial agents in wound healing: Growth factors play a role in cell division, migration, differentiation, protein expression, enzyme production and have a potential ability to heal wounds by stimulating angiogenesis and cellular proliferation, affecting the production and the degradation of the extracellular matrix, and by being chemotactic for inflammatory cells and fibroblasts. There are seven major families of growth factors: epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), interleukins (ILs), and colony-stimulating factor (CSF). Acute wounds contain many growth factors that play a crucial role in the initial phases of wound healing. The events of early wound healing reflect a finely balanced environment leading to uncomplicated and rapid wound healing. Chronic wounds, for many reasons, have lost this fine balance. Multiple studies have evaluated the effect that exogenously applied growth factors have on the healing of chronic wounds. In the study conducted by Knighton and colleagues, topical application of mixture of various growth factors (PDGF, TGF-beta, PDAF, PF4, PDEGF) demonstrated increased wound healing over controls. Brown and associates demonstrated a decrease in skin graft donor site healing time of 1 day using topically applied EGF. Herndon and ass. used systemic growth hormone in burned children and reduction in healing time made a significant clinical difference by allowing earlier wound coverage and decreasing the duration of hospitalization. The TGF family of growth factors is believed to be primarily responsible for excessive scar formation, especially the beta 1 and beta 2 isoforms. TGF-beta 3 isoform has recently been described and may have an inhibitory function on scar formation by being a natural antagonist to the TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 isoforms. Cytokines, especially interferon-alpha (INF-alpha), INF-alpha, and INF-alpha 2b, may also reduce scar formation. These cytokines decrease the proliferation rate of fibroblasts and reduce the rate of collagen and fibronectin synthesis by reducing the production of mRNA. Expression of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and heat shock proteins (HSP) have an important role in wound healing, as well as trace elements (zinc, copper, manganese). Applications of some drugs (antioxidants--asiaticoside, vitamin E and ascorbic acid; calcium D-pantothenate, exogenous fibronectin; antileprosy drugs--oil of hydnocarpus; alcoholic extract of yeast) accelerate wound healing. Thymic peptide thymosin beta 4 (T beta 4R) topically applicated, increases collagen deposition and angiogenesis and stimulates keratinocyte migration. Thymosin alpha 1 (T alpha 1R), peptide isolated from the thymus, is a potent chemoattractant which accelerates angiogenesis and wound healing. On the contrary, steroid drugs, hemorrhage and denervation of wounds have negative effect on the healing process.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Wound Healing / physiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*