Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heal

Date:
April 28, 2014
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Summary:
A new study suggests microbes living on our skin influence how quickly wounds heal. The findings could lead to new treatments for chronic wounds, which affect 1 in 20 elderly people. We spend our lives covered head-to-toe in a thin veneer of bacteria. But despite a growing appreciation for the valuable roles our resident microbes play in the digestive tract, little is known about the bacteria that reside in and on our skin.

A new study suggests microbes living on our skin influence how quickly wounds heal. The findings could lead to new treatments for chronic wounds, which affect 1 in 20 elderly people.

We spend our lives covered head-to-toe in a thin veneer of bacteria. But despite a growing appreciation for the valuable roles our resident microbes play in the digestive tract, little is known about the bacteria that reside in and on our skin. A new study suggests the interplay between our cells and these skin-dwelling microbes could influence how wounds heal.

"This study gives us a much better understanding of the types of bacterial species that are found in skin wounds, how our cells might respond to the bacteria and how that interaction can affect healing," said Matthew Hardman, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at The University of Manchester Healing Foundation Centre who led the project. "It's our hope that these insights could help lead to better treatments to promote wound healing that are based on sound biology."

Chronic wounds -- cuts or lesions that just never seem to heal -- are a significant health problem, particularly among elderly people. An estimated 1 in 20 elderly people live with a chronic wound, which often results from diabetes, poor blood circulation or being confined to bed or a wheelchair.

"These wounds can literally persist for years, and we simply have no good treatments to help a chronic wound heal," said Hardman, who added that doctors currently have no reliable way to tell whether a wound will heal or persist. "There's a definite need for better ways to both predict how a wound is going to heal and develop new treatments to promote healing."

The trillions of bacteria that live on and in our bodies have attracted a great deal of scientific interest in recent years. Findings from studies of microbes in the gut have made it clear that although some bacteria cause disease, many other bacteria are highly beneficial for our health.

In their recent study, Hardman and his colleagues compared the skin bacteria from people with chronic wounds that did or did not heal. The results showed markedly different bacterial communities, suggesting there may be a bacterial "signature" of a wound that refuses to heal.

"Our data clearly support the idea that one could swab a wound, profile the bacteria that are there and then be able to tell whether the wound is likely to heal quickly or persist, which could impact treatment decisions," said Hardman.

The team also conducted a series of studies in mice to shed light on the reasons why some wounds heal while others do not. They found that mice lacking a single gene had a different array of skin microbiota -- including more harmful bacteria -- and healed much more slowly than mice with a normal copy of the gene.

The gene, which has been linked to Chrohn's disease, is known to help cells recognize and respond to bacteria. Hardman said the findings suggest that genetic factors influence the makeup of bacteria on a person's skin, which in turn influences how they heal.

"Presumably, the mice's defect in the ability to identify bacteria means that they aren't able to mount the right type of response," said Hardman. "Taken together, our studies in humans and mice offer good evidence that the skin microbiome has a direct effect on how we heal."

Much of the current research on chronic wounds focuses on improving antibiotic dressings to prevent infection. Hardman says further insights into the roles of skin bacteria could help inform new treatment approaches that protect against harmful bacteria without eliminating bacterial communities that may play a beneficial role.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428210258.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). (2014, April 28). Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428210258.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428210258.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins