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Zinc in wound healing: Theoretical, experimental, and clinical aspects *

Zinc is an essential trace element in the human body and its importance in health and disease is appreciated. It serves as a cofactor in numerous transcription factors and enzyme systems including zinc-dependent matrix metalloproteinases that augment autodebridement and keratinocyte migration during wound repair. Zinc confers resistance to epithelial apoptosis through cytoprotection against reactive oxygen species and bacterial toxins possibly through antioxidant activity of the cysteine-rich metallothioneins.
Zinc deficiency of hereditary or dietary cause can lead to pathological changes and delayed wound healing. Oral zinc supplementation may be beneficial in treating zinc-deficient leg ulcer patients, but its therapeutic place in surgical patients needs further clarification. Topical administration of zinc appears to be superior to oral therapy due to its action in reducing superinfections and necrotic material via enhanced local defense systems and collagenolytic activity, and the sustained release of zinc ions that stimulates epithelialization of wounds in normozincemic individuals. Zinc oxide in paste bandages (Unna boot) protects and soothes inflamed peri-ulcer skin.
Zinc is transported through the skin from these formulations, although the systemic effects seem insignificant. We present here the first comprehensive account of zinc in wound management in relation to current concepts of wound bed preparation and the wound-healing cascade. This review article suggests that topical zinc therapy is underappreciated even though clinical evidence emphasizes its importance in autodebridement, anti-infective action, and promotion of epithelialization.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 08-11-2008
Authors: Alan B. G. Lansdown, PhD, FRC Path 1 ; Ursula Mirastschijski, MD, PhD 2 ; Nicky Stubbs, RN 3 ; Elizabeth Scanlon, RN, MSc 3 ; Magnus S. Agren, DMSci 4
Source: 2008 the Wound Healing Society