The relationship between protease/anti-protease profile, angiogenesis and re-epithelialisation in acute burn wounds.
Caulfield RH., Tyler MP., Austyn JM., Dziewulski P., McGrouther DA.
In the management of partial thickness burns, it is difficult to balance between conservative management and surgical intervention. Our hypothesis was that a triangular relationship exists between protease/anti-protease profile at the burn wound surface, angiogenesis and re-epithelialisation. By manipulation of the biochemical profile at the wound level, we determined to affect the nature and extent of angiogenesis and resulting re-epithelialisation. We performed a randomised longitudinal observational study on partial thickness burns in adult patients presenting to two regional burns units. Our results demonstrated that a high-protease wound environment is associated with lower levels of the angiogenic factor VEGF, a lower more uniform change in wound bloodflow and a uniform well healed wound with an architecturally normal epidermis. In addition, we found that a low protease wound environment is associated with higher levels of the angiogenic factor VEGF, a higher wound bloodflow throughout the wound healing period and a more chaotic, hypercellular, overkeratinised, and chaotic thickened epidermis.