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Inflammation is Not As Bad for Wounds As You May Believe

By Alice Merry Subscribe to RSS | January 1st 2012 | Views:

While most of us know how to deal with every day wounds by reaching for the first aid kit and get the supplies for cleaning the wound and then putting wound dressing on it. This completes the wound care protocol for us but there is a lot going in the background. Wounds go through a complicated healing process involving multiple phases. Inflammation is one of the phases of wound healing process; according to conventional thought, inflammation is generally considered a bad thing. However, a new research offers an opposing view on the effects and importance of inflammation for healing process.

Inflammation is a source of concern particularly in sports injuries. The new research study shows that inflammation help to heal the injured tissues and trying to aggressively control it may actually be detrimental. This study calls for scrutiny of the current approaches to control inflammation so that its benefits may be realized during tissue healing.

Lan Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher from the Neuro-inflammation Research Center/Department of Neurosciences/Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, together with colleagues conducted a study involving two groups of mice. One group was genetically altered so that their bodies became unable to produce normal inflammatory response to an injury, whereas the other group remained normal. The first group of mice was genetically altered so they could not mount inflammatory responses to acute injury. Both groups received induced injuries. The injury on the normal mice healed but the bodies were genetically altered mice was unable to repair the injury.

The researchers found that macrophages, which are the inflammatory cells, produce a growth factor known as (IGF-1) that helps increase the rate of muscle regeneration. It was observed that the genetically altered mice were unable to produce (IGF-1).

"We hope that our findings stimulate further research to dissect different roles played by tissue inflammation in clinical settings, so we can utilize the positive effects and control the negative effects of tissue inflammation," said Lan Zhou.

"For wounds to heal we need controlled inflammation, not too much, and not too little," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "It's been known for a long time that excess anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, slows wound healing. This study goes a long way to telling us why: insulin-like growth factor and other materials released by inflammatory cells helps wound to heal."

Alice Merry - About Author:
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