Background: The ability to forecast whether a wound will heal after closure without further debridement(s), would provide substantial benefits to patients with severe extremity trauma.
Methods: Wound effluent is a readily available material which can be collected without disturbing healthy tissue. For analysis of potential host response biomarkers, forty four serial combat wound effluent samples from 19 patients with either healing or failing traumatic- and other combat-related wounds were examined by 2-D DIGE. Spot map patterns were correlated to eventual wound outcome (healed or wound failure) and analyzed using DeCyder 7.0 and differential proteins identified via LC-MS/MS.
Results: This approach identified 52 protein spots that were differentially expressed and thus represent candidate biomarkers for this clinical application. Many of these proteins are intimately involved in inflammatory and immune responses. Furthermore, discriminate analysis further refined the 52 differential protein spots to a smaller subset of which successfully differentiate between wounds that will heal and those that will fail and require further surgical intervention with greater than 83% accuracy.
Conclusion: These results suggest candidates for a panel of protein biomarkers that may aid traumatic wound care prognosis and treatment. We recommend that this strategy be refined, and then externally validated, in future studies of traumatic wounds.