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Chinese herb extracts are effective for wound healing, researchers say
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.11.20 15:08
  • Updated 2017.11.20 15:08
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A research team at the Severance Hospital has confirmed that chemical 4-Hydroxybenzaldehyde (4-HBA) extracted from Tian Ma, a Chinese herb scattered all over Korea, has the effect of promoting wound healing, the hospital said Monday.

The human skin is the primary line of defense that forms a barrier against disease-causing substances that penetrate from the outside. In particular, the skin barrier function of the epidermis plays a vital role in preventing microbial invasion.

Rapid suture and wound healing should be done to prevent infection if scars on the hide or tissue damage such as burns or abrasions occur.

The wound treatment is a three-step process of inflammation-proliferation-re-formation. If either of these procedures is delayed or untreated, it will be converted to chronic wounds and treatment, and scar removal will be costly and time-consuming.

A research team led by Professor Lee Eun-jik이은직 of the department of Endocrinology has identified the mechanism of wound healing of 4-HBA by preclinical tests using experimental mice.

The team studied the wound healing and invasion by administering 4-HBA to scratches on mice. In addition to 4-HBA, PDGF-BB (platelet-derived growth factor subunit B homodimer), a platelet-derived growth factor, was applied to the scratched wounds and observed for mass transfer at 12, 24 and 30 hours. PDGF-BB has been widely used for wound healing and diabetic ulcer disease.

The graph shows the extent to which the 4-HBA substance contributes to acute wound healing in mice.

As a result, the wound treated with the 4-HBA substance promoted wound closure as much as the PDGF-BB treated group, suggesting that the 4-HBA substance promotes the migration of keratinocytes, which play an essential role in the wound healing process.

Also, the researchers found that focal adhesion kinase (FAK), an essential signaling protein for wound healing, occurs through the mechanism of activation of the Src pathway and that 4-HBA promotes keratinocyte cell migration and angiogenesis to heal wounds.

Finally, the team found that wound healing was more effective when the 4-HBA material and PDGF-BB were applied to wound animal models. The researchers divided three experimental mice into 4-HBA, PDGF, and 4-HBA + PDGF groups, respectively.

The researchers injected a 10 mm round wound on each mouse skin and then administered the appropriate components in groups. The researchers measured the extent of cutaneous wound healing over time from the day of injury (DAY 0) to days three, six, and nine.

The results of the study showed that the 4-HBA-administered group had a significantly higher value than the placebo effect group in all of the three, six, and nine-day measurements. PDGF-BB showed a significant difference on day three and day nine compared to placebo effect group but did not show any significant difference on day six of analysis.

The combination therapy of 4-HBA and PDGF-BB was also highly effective. All of the three, six, and nine days of treatment showed significant therapeutic effects as compared with the placebo effect group, thus enhancing the possibility of development as a future therapeutic agent.

The team found that 4-HBA was useful in wound healing, not only in vitro but also in vivo, and in combination with PDGF-BB and 4-HBA, which are approved by the FDA. The results of the paper suggest that it would be possible to develop various forms of therapeutic agents that promote disease healing.

"4-HBA is a single substance derived from natural materials, which is easier to obtain at low cost than a cost-effective wound healing new drug substance,” Professor Lee said. “Also, one of the plant's main constituents is thought to have relatively low toxicity and is expected to be highly commercialized."


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