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. 2020 Jun;9(6):325-331.
doi: 10.1089/wound.2019.1095. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

The Potential Impact of Social Genomics on Wound Healing

Free PMC article

The Potential Impact of Social Genomics on Wound Healing

Rachel A Fayne et al. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). .
Free PMC article


Significance: Human skin wounds carry an immense epidemiologic and financial burden, and their impact will continue to grow with an aging population and rising incidence of comorbid conditions known to affect wound healing. To comprehensively address this growing clinical issue, physicians should also be aware of how conditions of the human social environment may affect wound healing. Here we provide a review of the emerging field of social genomics and its potential impact on the wound healing. Recent Advances: Multiple studies using human and animal models have correlated social influences and their contributing effects to acute and chronic stress with delays in wound healing. Furthermore, observations between nongenetic factors such as nutrition, socioeconomic, and educational status have also shown to have a direct or indirect impact on clinical outcomes of wound healing. Critical Issues: Nutrition, financial burden, socioeconomic and education status, and acute and chronic stress are variables that have either direct (epigenetic) or indirect impact on wound healing and patients' quality of life. Wound care is costly and remains a challenge placing economic burden on patients. Furthermore, poor clinical outcomes and complications including loss of mobility and disability may lead to job loss, further contributing to socioeconomic related stress. Thus, the economic burden and inadequate wound healing are intertwined, making each other worse. Future Directions: Although some evidence regarding the specific changes in genetic pathways imparted by conditions of the social environment exists, further studies are warranted to identify potential mechanisms, interventions, and prevention approaches.

Keywords: chronic wounds; social genomics; wound healing.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no conflicts, financial or otherwise, to disclose. M.T.C. conceived the idea for this review; L.B., R.F. A.E., and M.T.C. reviewed the literature and wrote the article. No ghostwriters were used in writing this article.


Marjana Tomic-Canic, PhD
Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Biological and social factors that affect wound healing. This diagram outlines how various conditions may affect the wound-healing process in patients. These include local and systemic biologic conditions as well as the aspects of human social environment including nutritional, socioeconomic, educational status, and social factors such as isolation and situational stressors. Color images are available online.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Social conditions as influencers of wound healing. The summary outlines multiple different aspects of social conditions that may modify biological processes important for wound healing. Color images are available online.

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