In case of chronic wound infections two biological activities were found to be out of control. These are reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are chemically reactive molecules formed by the partial reduction of oxygen, and biofilms that are formed by selective invading bacteria.
ROS is the natural byproduct of the normal oxygen metabolism and plays a role in cell signaling and homeostasis. However, excessive ROS can induce chronic inflammation, a key characteristic of wounds that do not heal. The biofilms are bacterial defense mechanisms. Together they create a toxic environment that can resist efforts to heal and close a chronic wound.
"By decreasing ROS levels within a chronic wound in a diabetic mouse model, my lab was able to normalize conditions and heal the wound," Martins-Green said. "Indeed, we saw significant improvement in healing the wound."