What scientific evidence exists in the action of antioxidants in wound healing?

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are oxidizing agents, which play a crucial role in the preparation of the normal wound healing response. A suitable balance between low or high levels of ROS is essential.  The antioxidants are chemical compounds catalyze a complex cascade of reactions to convert ROS into more stable molecules, such as H2O and O2

Regulation of redox balance through the modulation of ROS and antioxidant levels is a target for new wound therapies. The interest in using antioxidant compounds for wound treatment is growing, and several biomaterials have been developed and tested. However, most of these new compounds are not well known by clinicians, and their properties and true effects on healing remain unclear.

Thus, within the REOX Project, a review was carried out to identify the compounds with antioxidant capacity that have been tested for wound healing and summarize the available evidence on their effects.

This review identified seven compounds with antioxidant activity:  Curcumin, N-acetyl Cysteine, Chitosan, Gallic Acid, Edaravone, Crocin, Safranal and Quercetin. The effect of these substances on healing have been tested with different experimental designs (in vitro, animal models) or human clinical studies.

Results show that therapies based on the topical use of antioxidants compounds might regulate redox balance and oxidative stress, decreasing the inflammatory status, allowing the wound to continue the proliferative phase of healing. So that, these therapies should not be used for every wound, but as a second-line therapy for hard-to-heal wounds. 

Article available at: Comino-Sanz IM, López-Franco MD, Castro B, Pancorbo-Hidalgo PL. The Role of Antioxidants on Wound Healing: A Review of the Current Evidence. J Clin Med. 2021;10:3558.

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