Saliva Helps in Wound Healing

Jul 24, 2008
Scientists identified a compound in human saliva that makes wound healing faster. A new study conducted by scientists from the Netherlands found that the compound has a potential to help people suffering from conditions such as diabetes that result in chronic wounds and those having traumatic injures and burns.

During the experiment, isolated the histatin, a protein found in saliva that was previously believed to have antibacterial properties. Scientists took the epithelial cells that cover the inner cheek to cultivate in the dishes until the surfaces were entirely covered with the cells. Then they made artificial wounds in layers of each dish. One of the dishes was later washed in isotonic fluid, while the other was processed with human saliva. Scientists checked the dishes after 16 hours and found that the wound washed with saliva was almost completely healed, while the other wound was still open.

The findings showed that saliva contains a compound contributing to wound healing. The next step of the experiment was to reveal which of the compounds in saliva is responsible for wound closure. Scientists separated the saliva into different components, using a variety of methods to test on the wound healing and found that the compound histatin was responsible for wound healing.

Scientists believe that the results of the study will be very helpful for treatment of people, having non-healing wounds such as diabetes ulcers and foot ulcers as well as other injures.

Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, where the study was published said that the findings explain why animals lick their wounds and why oral wounds heal much faster than skin or bone wounds. The results of the study will be used to develop new drugs that may become as common as antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol.