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World J Surg. 2004 Mar;28(3):294-300. Epub 2004 Feb 17.

Oxygen in wound healing--more than a nutrient.

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Wound Healing Research Laboratory, Northwestern University, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Tarry Bldg 4-720, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


This article provides an overview of the role of oxygen in wound healing. The understanding of this role has undergone a major evolution from its long-recognized importance as an essential factor for oxidative metabolism, to its recognition as an important cell signal interacting with growth factors and other signals to regulate signal transduction pathways. Our laboratory has been engaged in the study of animal models of skin ischemia to explore in vivo the impact of hypoxia as well as the use of oxygen as a therapeutic agent either alone or in combination with other agents such as growth factors. We have demonstrated a synergistic effect of systemic hyperbaric oxygen and growth factors that has been substantiated by Hunt's group. Within the past 10 years research in the field of wound healing has given new insight into the mechanism of action of hypoxia and hyperoxia as modifiers of the normal time-course of wound healing. The article concludes with a discussion of why hypoxia and hyperoxia intercurrently play an important role in wound healing. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 is crucial in that interplay.

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