Background: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are crucial in the inflammatory and remodeling phases of wound healing. We previously reported the correlation between pro-inflammatory cytokines and timing of successful combat-wound closure. We now extend our studies to investigate the correlation between wound-remodeling MMP expression and wound healing.
Methods: Thirty-eight wounds in 25 patients with traumatic extremity combat wounds were prospectively studied. Surgical debridement with vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) device application was repeated every 48 to 72h until surgical wound closure. Wound effluent and patient serum were collected at each wound debridement and analyzed for five matrix metalloproteinases using the Luminex multiplex system; Millipore Corp, Billerica, MA. The primary outcome was wound healing within 30 d of definitive wound closure. Impairment was defined as delayed wound closure (>21 d from injury) or wound dehiscence. MMP expression was compared between impaired and normal healing wounds.
Results: Elevated levels of serum MMP-2 and MMP-7 and reduced levels of effluent MMP3 were seen in impaired wounds (n = 9) compared with wounds that healed (n = 29; P<0.001). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis yielded area-under-the-curve (AUC) of 0.744, 0.783, and 0.805, respectively.
Conclusions: Impaired wound healing is characterized by pro-inflammatory MMP-2 and MMP-7. Serum and effluent concentrations of MMP-2, MMP-3, and MMP-7 can effectively predict the outcome of traumatic war wounds and can potentially provide decision-supportive, objective evidence for the timing of wound closure.