Proteolytic activity of blowfly larvae secretions in experimental burns

Surgery. 1981 Nov;90(5):835-41.


Secretions of larvae of the blowfly Calliphora erythrocephala digested experimental rat skin burn eschar in vivo and in vitro when applied topically in a vanishing cream base. Debridement was characterized by de-epithelialization and digestion of dermal collagen to a subfollicular level over a 3-day period. Analytic investigation of the secretions demonstrated the presence of enzymes with activities characteristic of trypsin, leucine aminopeptidase, and carboxypeptidases A and B. These were partially characterized. There was no evidence of chymotrypsin, elastase, or collagenase. Preparation of a suitable therapeutic form could result in a preparation useful for enzymatic debridement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Debridement
  • Diptera* / metabolism
  • Larva
  • Ointments
  • Peptide Hydrolases / analysis
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Peptide Hydrolases / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Ointments
  • Peptide Hydrolases